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Planning for Holiday Success (While Still Enjoying Yourself!)

by: Sandi Della Rocca

Well, here we are…. Thanksgiving is Thursday and other holidays are right on it’s heels! So, how do we manage this time of the year? This time

when, according to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average American gains 1lb with each holiday. That may surprise you. Only 1lb per holiday?! So maybe 3lbs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? I thought it was more! The problem with these particular pounds is that they are less likely to be lost when the holidays end and therefore have a tendency to add up. 5 holiday seasons later we could have an extra stubborn 15lbs to lose! But, despair not! There are things that you can do to help you still enjoy the holiday season and not gain those pounds!

Most people tend to let their exercise routines slip during the holidays. Let’s face it, your daily structure and routine that kept you moving is probably thrown out of whack. Kids are home, you are away, family is (finally!) able to visit… the list goes on. But, we know that people who keep up with their exercise routines are more likely to keep those extra pounds away even if their eating habits slip a bit (because, well, stuffing and gelt and Christmas cookies, oh my!). So, how do we keep moving when obstacles get thrown in the way?

Here is the key… NOW! Before we get sucked into the whirlwind of the holidays, write out a plan for how you are going to handle the moment when you want to temporarily quit your exercise routine. I don’t mean think about it and move on. I don’t mean read this and think “oh that’s a good idea” and forget about it. I mean NOW, make an appointment in your calendar to do this by Wednesday. To take some time and sit down and put actual pen to paper and write out how you will handle getting your exercise in when family is in town/kids are off school/you have meals to prepare/your partner is home sitting on the couch/you have holiday shopping to get done/etc. What is your plan? Does this mean you have to shift to a zoom instead of in-person classes next week? Maybe you enlist someone in your household to commit to taking that walk or going with you to class first thing in the morning (Check out our Home for the Holidays Class Pass!). Maybe you commit to tagging us after you take a class from the content library and tell us what class you took? Check out our Thanksgiving morning schedule with something for adults and kids alike! Can’t get here in person? Take it on Zoom. But, you have to make a plan!

Why do I want you to do this? Because studies (Orbell & Sheeran, Journal of Applied Social Psychology, April 2000) have shown that when people do this, when they actually write out (vs just think about) a plan as to how they will handle these moments when the temptation to quit is the strongest, that it makes a difference. Think of willpower like a bicep, a muscle to develop.Basically, we are deliberately building your willpower habits to get you through the holidays.

We also know that exercise spills over and makes other good habits easier to maintain (Blair, Public Health Reports, 2009). So, by sticking with your exercise routine, it will be easier to make good choices during this season. That means it makes it easier to indulge in just the one holiday meal vs that one meal turning into “I’ll just start fresh in January.”

Share your plans with us, your family or friends. Provide some accountability for each other so that you can enjoy the holiday meals knowing you are doing so thoughtfully, mindfully and with a plan. Want some help making a plan? We are always happy to help! Drop us a note at and let's get a jump start on a healthy 2022!

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