Holiday Weight Loss Survival Guide: Positive Thinking

December 16, 2016

blog_holidayseries4We’re in the home stretch of the holiday season, with New Year’s (resolutions) right around the corner. In our Holiday Weight Loss Survival Guide series, we hope you’ve found some valuable tips in managing your weight by controlling food temptations, improving sleep, and reducing stress. In our fourth and final part of the series, we turn our attention to how a positive mindset can help you achieve your weight loss goals in these last few days of this peak holiday season and in the upcoming year.

If you believe it, you can achieve it. This form of positive thinking is known as self-efficacy. A study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that as self-efficacy improved, participants developed better eating habits and lost more weight. In short, science backs up the notion that believing you can lose weight can in fact help you do it.

The holidays may be the perfect season to improve your positive thinking. Let’s tap into the seasonal joy to make your weight loss goals a reality.

Practice gratitude. The holidays remind us that there is so much to be thankful for. When it comes to food during the holidays, we might show our gratitude by partaking a bit too much. Rather than going down the path of indulgence, why not show gratitude for your weight loss skills and abilities? For instance, you can observe the buffet at your office holiday party and say, I’m thankful for this celebration, but I’m so grateful for the awareness I have to resist the cheesecake. Or, I’m incredibly thankful that I have strong legs I can use to walk and climb the stairs. Like a set of building blocks, continual gratitude for your abilities strengthens the foundation of your overall positive mindset.

Avoid all or nothing thinking. Losing weight is not simply a matter of success or failure. There are highs, lows, plateaus, setbacks, and bounce backs. So if you find yourself overeating once at social gathering, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Say to yourself, I’ve hit a bump in the road, but next time I’ll make the better weight-friendly food choice. This is incredibly important for setting expectations for weight loss in the New Year. Many people make the mistake of setting unrealistic weight loss goals as part of their resolutions. When they fall short, their black and white thinking causes them to give up easily on themselves. Remember, weight management is a lifelong process. Stay positive and always know you have the opportunity to make better choices!

Practice mindful eating. When sitting for a big holiday meal, it’s not uncommon to slip into a food haze. It’s almost like shifting into autopilot where the act of eating becomes robotic. When your brain enters this state, it is very easy to overindulge. Instead, take a big breath before sitting and concentrate on bringing your thoughts into sharp focus. Survey the table and become hyper aware of everything on it, staying positive and focusing on the present. When you choose to take a bite, really savor the taste and texture of the food, chewing slowly and deliberately. Fully swallow the bite and focus on it before you take another. When you practice mindful eating, you should find you are not so eager to shovel more food onto your plate. A study from Brown University found that people who paid attention to their thoughts and feelings in the present moment had lower abdominal fat levels and were less likely to suffer from obesity.

Positive thinking is one of our favorite topics. During the holiday season and all year round, it’s important to make your positive mindset a priority. We wish you great joy and success wherever you may be, and we’ll be right here to lend support and guidance in the New Year!

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