Do you usually feel off track, frustrated, tired or bloated by the end of the year? December can be HARD to stay on track with healthy eating, weight loss, portion control and habits like meal planning. There’s so many treats, drinks with friends and holiday social events PLUS it is busy with shopping, decorating and getting work sorted before time off. The perfect storm to tempt you into hitting the screw it button and giving up until after Christmas. This year, DON’T DO IT. That off-on cycle hasn’t served you well yet, so let’s break it this year – without giving up on your favourite food traditions.

First: Go in with a clear and reasonable goal

First figure out what’s on your plate, and what is important for you. Be ULTRA realistic here. If you really struggled with loads of evening comfort cookies last year, aim for a little better this year (like 1 small thing per night).

  • How much social stuff, holiday treat foods, drinks and extras are on your calendar?
  • Will you be able to keep up at least your usual exercise 100%?
  • How many and what kind of food and drink based holiday treats and traditions feel important to you to indulge in? Are they one-time or will you want to include them several times per week?
  • How do you want to feel at the end of December? In your body – light, not bloated, great poops, good energy, clothes fitting the same (or a little better)? And how about mentally – proud, steady, neutral (instead of defeated, frustrated or stressed about finding a “fix” for weeks of overdoing it)?

Second: Get clear on your boundaries + set some structure

This looks different for everyone.

1. What treats and events do I want to indulge in the most, what feels most valuable to me? Get clear and get them on your calendar. Swap them in for your usual treats, takeout or extras where possible to keep your balance even so that you can maintain weight. 
Which ones do I not enjoy that much that I can skip, eat before, or balance my plate? Pick a strategy for events, dinners, or extras that don’t mean that much to you. How will you decline, what will you eat or bring instead? Don’t be tempted to wing this part, it doesn’t go well – especially after a wine (or rum and eggnog) or two!

2. Plan your treats each week- how many will feel good, big or small. Check with the first question and make sure this goal is lining up with your valuable indulgences. Record them as they happen in a note on your phone or a journal so your brain recognizes them and you can close the craving cycle.

3. Commit to meal planning like it’s your life partner. Don’t skip this one! Weekly at least, but get ahead of the busy before and after Christmas weeks even if you have time off. Hoping you’ll make a great decision or feel inspired when surrounded by treats and your nervous system is recovering from a busy year is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, plan your meals using ones that are familiar and balanced, and come up with a strategy for leftovers so you’re still getting mostly protein and veggies outside of the holiday dinners and planned treats. This also means you’ll have a clear grocery list and be less likely to impulse buy stuff you can’t handle in the house.

Third: 5 Minute Check In + Adjust Course Daily or Weekly

I like these 3 prompts for gently checking in; no guilt, shame or perfectionism needed if it was a sh*t show. Just honesty + problem solving. Put a reminder to do this check-in on your calendar so it doesn’t get lost in the busy-ness as December goes on.

1. How did you do with staying with your structure? Do you need to adjust your expectations and goals a touch instead of giving up until after Christmas? Don’t be sucked in to this all or nothing self sabotage-y BS that if you didn’t do it right you can’t do it all. If you couldn’t run 20km when you first started, would you assume you couldn’t even walk 1km? Give that diet-y brain a reminder that being  100% or nothing with food is silly at best, and keeps you stuck feeling unhealthy at worst. 
2. How does your body feel? What would give you more energy, help you get over that cold or feel less bloated? How does this compare to how you want to feel by the end of December? 
3. What really helped you when things were on track or you made a good decision? Had you had your protein for the day, eaten before, meal planned and prepped, been getting enough sleep? How can you keep this up next week?

Copy and paste these into a note on your phone, a calendar reminder, or write them in your journal for easy access.

Above all – don’t give up on December. Finding consistency and being able to adjust our goals slightly instead of the off/on dieting cycle is key for losing weight and keeping it off. You can not part time your way to feeling healthy, energized and good in your skin. Busy work seasons, holidays, and stressful family stuff will ALWAYS be there.

If you know that your December habits have been hard to break – comfort eating, cravings, or all-or-nothing mindset around eating – apply here and let’s work together! You don’t have to work on it alone, and research shows that accountability and support are key to long term habit change, as well as weight loss success (the kind that sticks more than 1 year). I still have some spaces in my 12 week healthy weight loss program, and would love to have you join our kick-ass community this year.

Need some help getting your meals for the week balanced and prepared? If you’d like to receive our free Meal Planning Getting Started Guide AND get in on our weekly emails about all things nutrition so you can get clarity and confidence on what you’re eating, join us here!