Stay in the game: avoiding a loss of momentum
After two weeks, the thrill of starting something new may be fading. Now’s the time to think back to why you began this challenge, and think about what you can do right now to keep you committed to your goals. The Eat Smart, Move More…Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge offers helpful tips for sticking to your commitment to get healthy.
• Keep your eye on the prize — Whether your goal is to see the same number on the scale in January as you saw in November or to have more energy to do things with the people you love, think back to that intention when things get tough. As you reach for that third cookie or talk yourself out of your after-dinner walk, stop and visualize yourself reaching your goal and imagine how you will feel when you accomplish it. Now put down that cookie, and take a walk instead!
• Plan ahead — It’s much easier to eat smart and move more when you make time for preparing healthy meals and exercising. Look at your schedule at the beginning of each week, and decide which days you have time to make meals and which days you’ll be having leftovers. Pack your leftovers into appropriate-sized containers based on whether you’ll be eating them alone for lunch or with your family for dinner. Write your workout plans into your schedule. On the days you know you won’t have time for formal exercise, sneak in some physical activity by promising yourself you’ll get up from your chair every 30 minutes.
• Write it down — Maintain a food and fitness log to stay on track. Include your feelings before and after each meal and workout, so that you can begin to notice how your mood relates to your eating and exercise patterns. Use the journal to adjust unhealthy habits and to help you stay accountable for the goals you set.
• Expect some bumps in the road — There will be days that you don’t eat as well or move as much as you had hoped. This happens to all of us, but those with the most long-term success are able to get back to their routine after they falter. Don’t use a slip-up as an excuse to quit, and don’t beat yourself up for it either. Once you realize that you’ve gotten off track, remind yourself that you are human, and get back to your plan.
• Acknowledge small successes — Celebrate your actions over the end result. Your weight will vary a bit from day to day, so keep the focus on what you do, not the number you see on the scale. Remember to keep it positive by acknowledging when you make a healthy choice such as eating fruit instead of a piece of cake. Research has found that you’re more likely to maintain a healthy path by recognizing your efforts than by punishing yourself if you fall short, so be sure to take pleasure in your accomplishments, both big and small.
For more information about the Eat Smart, Move More…Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge, visit MyEatSmartMoveMore.com.