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Six Ways to Avoid Setbacks During the Holiday Season

October 24, 2019

It’s October.  Which means that many holidays are right around the corner.  These are some of the most fun, stressful, challenging, and exciting times of the year.  We get to see family, travel, and visit with others.  These changes can wreak havoc and cause us to become completely derailed.  Here are a few ways to take the holiday season head-on and power through it with as few setbacks as possible.

By Steven Risi, Exercise Physiologist at the Duke Diet & Fitness Center

First, about what causes you to come unraveled.  Making “perfect plans” can get us through the holidays, but if you don’t know what causes you to get off track in the first place our “perfect plan” may be moot.  Common examples:

  • Food
  • Travel
  • Family (sometimes accidentally creating an unsupportive environment)
  • Change in schedule
  • Work changes
  • Hosting friends and family

Identify what the derailing factor(s) are and plan for that. 

If it’s food, talk with a dietitian or don’t personally bring the items into your house.  Others may bring food, but don’t be your own enemy.  You are welcome to ask guests to not bring certain things depending on the relationship, but that is entirely up to you.  At the Duke Diet and Fitness Center (DFC), Registered Dietitians discuss proper ways to stock the kitchen and properly prepare for uncommon events.

If you are traveling, use opportunities to walk when possible. 

Walk the terminal at airports and look up where you are staying ahead of time and determine its ‘walkability”.  Bring resistance bands or ask about local gyms that may offer a week trial for free.  The Duke DFC Fitness team is constantly discussing the importance of overall movement and how even small decisions to move a little more makes a big difference.

Let the family know what to expect! 

Tell them you will be walking in the morning or doing a routine at the house/gym.  You know what you want to do, don’t let other peoples’ expectations influence you; BE the influence. Don’t succumb to the “guilt card”.  Answer in a non-shaming way, “I’d love to have you come with me so we can still visit!” so they feel invited rather than guilt themselves.

Schedule Change.

Many people know their holiday work schedule far in advance. Be prepared.  If you know you have certain days off, take advantage and travel early to get settled or scope out the area.  If staying home, use that time to make lists to avoid extra trips because you forgot something  Yes they can be for rest htoo but don't fall into the trap of "I get a two-week break!" and let the caloric intake skyrocket with the typical decrease in caloric output. 

Try to get your personal time accomplished before everyone wakes.

If you are hosting people, try to get your personal time accomplished before everyone wakes. Make the pot of coffee, have your approved snacks available for those who wake before you return so that you don’t feel like you are being a bad host.  Don’t skimp on time because you feel bad either.  Do your whole routine because you know how great you feel.  

How great would it feel to get through the holiday season weighing the same and maybe even less!  If weight loss isn’t the goal, then continue your routine.  Getting through this time of year is a challenge.  Win it!  Contact a DFC professional for personal tips on how to get through the season. 

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With more than 40-year years of experience in delivering wellness and weight loss programs, the Duke Diet and Fitness Center has established itself as one of the leading weight loss and total body health destinations for health conscious individuals seeking a residential style health program focused on natural weight loss.

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