The holidays have officially arrived. With them comes busy weeks filled with food, stress, events…and more food. Anyone reading this who struggles with their weight knows that December is not usually the time you bother to do anything about it. Why? Because it’s typically the one month out of the year that we tell ourselves we can “cheat.” And why do we do that? Because January is supposed to save and redeem us from everything we’ve done leading up to it.

January is New Year’s Resolution Time and with weight loss at the top of the goals on most Americans’ lists, we try to convince ourselves that “next year,” we’ll hit that weight loss goal. Next year, we’ll get healthy and stay that way. But that’s next year. For the rest of this year, we’re going to throw caution to the wind and do as we please. If this is your second, third or fourth cycle with this type of behavior and mindset, why do you keep doing it? It isn’t working and chances are, you’re gaining MORE weight each year.

A healthy lifestyle and diet aren’t a stop-start proposition. It’s the consistent effort, over the long term that yields the highest reward, which is lasting weight-loss. When it comes to how you view food, banish the word “cheat” from your mind and vocabulary. Don’t give yourself a cheat day, month or nanosecond. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat the foods you love. It means that you shouldn’t view a healthy diet and lifestyle as something you can put on pause.

How we treat our bodies is a CONSTANT series of choices. Most of us don’t even think about the consequences of those choices, but we make them just the same. If you need to lose weight, get in the habit of making conscious choices about your eating and exercise habits. If you’ve eaten something today that is particularly high in calories, commit to squeezing in an extra half hour of exercise. Can’t squeeze in that extra half hour? Then maintain a more reasonable diet for the day. In behaving this way, you’re telling yourself that your choices matter. When you know your choices matter, you’re less likely to make the ones that don’t ultimately benefit you.

Making conscious choices isn’t easy at first. It’s hard work and can be incredibly frustrating. But if you ask anyone who has struggled with their weight and put in the hard work to keep it off long-term, they’ll tell you that choosing wisely is worth it. Like any muscle in our bodies, retraining our brains to focus on healthy choices isn’t hard forever. If we stick with it.

To stick with it, don’t put it on pause and don’t “cheat” through it. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to making this the last “chubby” season of your life. Sounds like the best holiday gift ever, right?

Wishing You Happy and Healthy Holidays,