106 - How to Not Gain Weight Over the Holidays

We show you how to not turn on yourself and gain unwanted weight over the holidays. We’re inviting you to get honest with yourself about what the holidays actually mean, how long it spans for, and offering tips for how to not get caught in the fog of the holidays so you can actually enjoy how you feel heading into the New Year.

5 min

We’ve come back around to that time of year where we discuss the holidays and remind you of how to navigate it without feeling full of regret and despair on January 1st. All of us love the holidays and we want to enjoy them to the fullest, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to be in damage control mode on January 1st. We’re showing you how to make sure that doesn't happen.

We’re not here to tell you that you shouldn’t be indulging, or that focusing solely on eating heathy during the holidays is necessary. But are you telling yourself this simply isn’t the time to be planning? Or that the holidays span a full six weeks of fuck-it energy where you eat all the food and drink all the drinks? 

Join us this week as we show you how to not turn on yourself and gain unwanted weight over the holidays. We’re inviting you to get honest with yourself about what the holidays actually mean, how long it spans for, and offering tips for how to not get caught in the fog of the holidays so you can actually enjoy how you feel heading into the New Year. 

Check out Vibe Club, a weight loss coaching group with the purpose of supporting women that want to sustain a healthy lifestyle.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The damage of “follow-up thinking” around the holidays. 
  • What makes the holiday season a problem for so many people. 
  • How you might be lying to yourself about what you want to be doing over the holidays. 
  • An exercise to help you get honest about indulging during the holidays. 
  • Why it’s important to practice planning and moderating food year-round, and not just over the holiday season. 
  • How to enjoy your holidays without feeling regret on January 1st.

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Full Episode Transcript:

On this episode of the podcast we do our yearly holiday rant where we talk about the holiday season, how to be successful with the holiday season. And how to not wake up with regrets on January 1st.

Hi, I’m Maggie. I’ve lost a combined 90 pounds after having my two kids and struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. I teach you how to lose weight a different way, how to fix the thoughts in your head holding you back from finally taking weight loss off your to do list. Losing weight doesn’t need to be a struggle. And it’s my mission to help you love the process all the way down the scale. If you’re ready to lose weight a different way, then let’s get it.

Ryan: What’s up?

Maggie: Welcome to the podcast, everybody.

Ryan: What’s new with you?

Maggie: Like you don’t know. There’s nothing really new with me.

Ryan: Can you hand me my coffee please?

Maggie: Yeah, one second here.

Ryan: Let me just reach. I’ve been doing a lot of crypto trading lately.

Maggie: Yeah. It’s super exciting for you.

Ryan: It’s pretty lucrative.

Maggie: Yeah. Well, it’s a good, you know, it’s good to do stuff that you’re into, guys. And it’s good that lots of people are into different stuff.

Ryan: What we’re saying here is Maggie couldn’t give two shits about crypto.

Maggie: I mean that’s not false.

Ryan: Yeah.

Maggie: Yeah, that’s true.

Ryan: I mean even the fact that I’m making money off of it, you don’t even care.

Maggie: You know why though, because I’m just like but the money, it goes up and down. It’s volatile. Volatile. Volatile. You can probably say that word both ways. And then it’s like, okay, that’s cool that money is making money and all that. But whatever, I need to do some more research. It’s not something I’ve really dug into but I’m glad that you’re into it.

Ryan: Yeah.

Maggie: It’s November. And this is just that time of year. I mean what, this is 2019, 2020, this is our third holiday season podcasting.

Ryan: Yeah. I thought people needed to be reminded about the holidays every time it comes around since they’re annually and you forget.

Maggie: Well, because I was going to say, this will be the third holiday season that I beg you guys to do something different and where most of you don’t listen to me as well.

Ryan: I just think it’s interesting that when holiday comes around and we eat turkey, and stuffing, and mashed potatoes, and then people are like, “Fuck it, I’m going to keep eating this stuff for two weeks.” That’s interesting to me.

Maggie: I mean two weeks, six weeks, what do you mean, till the end of the year?

Ryan: That’s interesting. It’s interesting how our brains go there so fast.

Maggie: I really do think the follow-up to, we have the holiday, the follow-up thinking, I really feel like it sounds like there’s not a point to do this right now. This isn’t the time. I was just talking about that either in Vibe Club or on my stories or something. Your brain is going to tell you, this is not the time. And everybody would agree with you. This isn’t the time to be focusing on eating healthy, or your weight, or whatever. Are you kidding me? It’s the middle of November right now when we’re recording this.

There are six weeks left in the year, how much damage can you do in six weeks? Chill.

Ryan: I understand where people are coming from when they’re saying, “This isn’t the time.” But what I’m thinking is there is no time periods.

Maggie: There is no right time or a wrong time, you mean? Or it’s a façade, it’s not a fact that this isn’t, weight loss is going to…

Ryan: No. When you say, “This isn’t the time,” you’re telling yourself that there is a time and there isn’t a time to be eating the way I want to eat. And I’m saying, you have to remove that from your brain. It’s not a good way to think about it.

Maggie: Well, and it’s not a fact. The only reason I’m bringing it up in this way is because some of us have beliefs that we have in our brain that you could get almost everybody to agree with you about. That doesn’t make them true. I’m just saying there’s this added level of energy of no, this is party time. This is chill time. This is eat, drink and be merry time. This is indulgent time. This is spend all the money, eat all the food, drink all the drinks, this is that time of year. And so it’s almost like you have this supportive energy to believe that if you want to believe that.

Ryan: And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong to believe that or to even do that. I keep seeing people say, holiday, it’s just one day. And just why does it go into more than that day?

Maggie: Well, I think because it’s not the holiday, it’s the holiday season.

Ryan: It has to be a season?

Maggie: Listen, I’m just playing devil’s advocate right now with the bullshit that people say. So I’m not like, “Well, it makes perfect sense.” I just, when Ryan and I talk about this we mean it’s not a problem unless it’s creating a problem for you on January 1st. That’s when it’s a problem. And I talk to my clients about this all the time when they’re like, “My brain,” the thoughts that they’re having is it just doesn’t matter. It’s not a big deal. And what I tell them is, “If it’s not a big deal right now then it shouldn’t be a big deal tomorrow morning when you wake up.”

And that’s usually where we’re out of alignment where it’s like, “It’s not a big deal. Who cares? Just live a little.” And then in the morning you wake up and you’re like, “I shouldn’t have done that.” That is telling you that in the moment your brain when it’s telling you, “This isn’t a big deal,” is lying to you. That is a thought error. That is not a fact. That is a lie that you’ll find out the truth of it tomorrow morning. So if it doesn’t matter and if you really don’t care, because it isn’t a problem to do whatever you want till the end of the year, eat whatever, do whatever you want unless you’re going to wake up on January 1st and be like, “That was not what I wanted to do.”

That’s when it’s a problem. You get to decide what you make is a problem. What I think is an issue is saying it isn’t a big deal when you’re lying to yourself about that. It is a big deal. It’s not what you want to be doing. You just don’t feel you have another option. You don’t feel there’s another choice for you here. And one of my favorite exercises to do is for you to just get out your handy dandy calendar, pull it out. And then go ahead and just mark on your calendar every day that there is an event or a holiday.

And then get really honest with yourself about how many events and holidays we’re talking here. Because now we’re mid-November.

Ryan: What would you say, thanksgiving?

Maggie: Black Friday. I mean I’ll get…

Ryan: Black Friday should not be an excuse to eat.

Maggie: Listen, it’s a time off work. I’m not saying it’s an excuse to eat. I’m just saying these times when you’re off work, it’s like you’ve got the holiday. I will let you guys be slippery with this and even count days that wouldn’t be considered holidays, but days when you may indulge or eat things that you wouldn’t normally eat or whatever.

Ryan: Let’s go high end here and walk through it. Thanksgiving, Black Friday, that’s two days.

Maggie: Cyber Monday. Just kidding.

Ryan: People will roll that into Saturday and Sunday too.

Maggie: And Monday, yeah.

Ryan: Four or five days for thanksgiving. Can we trim that down to three days?

Maggie: We totally can.

Ryan: Okay. So Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Maggie: No, I wouldn’t trim it. I wouldn’t even roll Saturday into there.

Ryan: And neither would I but I’m just trying to be generous.

Maggie: I’m being generous with Black Friday.

Ryan: I’m trying to get people to not just mold the whole holiday.

Maggie: Just say November 24th all the way through to December 31st.

Ryan: Yeah. Because even if they can do that, you’re still going to be in a better spot. Even if you do give yourself the four days.

Maggie: I’m having déjà vu because I know we recorded a podcast like this last year.

Ryan: No. We will every year.

Maggie: But the fact that you guys are going to hear this podcast before November and your brain is going to say, “Oh, but it’s thanksgiving. Oh, well I got up really early to go shopping. Oh, well, it’s the weekend. Oh, well, it’s still the weekend. I’ll get back.” And so what could have been one day is now four days. That’s where things grow into an issue that you didn’t want to have, that wasn’t necessary, where now you’re not feeling good physically.

Ryan: I’m okay with the four days. I know it’s a lot but I’m okay giving them the four days.

Maggie: It’s a lot, yeah.

Ryan: If you keep it at four days. Can you keep it at four days and not just keep going all the way to Christmas? That’s what most people do.

Maggie: I think they can keep it at four days. But I also think that what that drives is eat your face off for four days. And we’re going to have to clarify, we are not there yet. So we’re going to count holidays, that’s where we’re starting first.

Ryan: Okay, let’s count the holidays.

Maggie: And then we’ll talk about what you can do on the holidays.

Ryan: I’m going to say three or four days. Most people will realistically be eating off plan for three or four days around thanksgiving.

Maggie: Until they get to Monday where they’re going to like, “And let’s see [inaudible].”

Ryan: Yeah. And then you have a decision to make on Monday. Alright, then what’s next? Christmas, Christmas, and New Year.

Maggie: I mean we’re not counting all the holidays that everybody has. So we’re just looking at, this is why it’s going to vary. We know we have these holidays like thanksgiving and Christmas. But there are other holidays that people celebrate like Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, those are…

Ryan: Yeah, we’re doing American stuff.

Maggie: So the whole thing that you have to look at is the holidays that you celebrate, what are the days? What’s the number of days that that is?

Ryan: I think I’m realizing one of the problems, and what she just pointed out is people have time off work. And they tend to take their entire time off work and eat whatever they want because it’s hard to sit around and not eat whatever you want.

Maggie: But that’s why I like this, what we’re telling you to do, most of the stuff we tell you guys is it’s going to be different from person to person. You have to ask yourself, do I want to be eating the entire time I’m off of work? If you get a two week break, there was a time when you had a job where two weeks, you’d get two weeks or three weeks off for the end of the year. Do you want to be eating your face off that entire time? That’s not what we’re talking about. It’s how many days are you just going to let yourself just gorge on food?

You have to get really clear on how you want to be showing up at the 1st of the year. Because I always also talk about, I love the energy of the 1st of the year because it feels like everybody collectively is ready to get their shit together. So I love using that energy. I love tapping into that energy. But you don’t have to wait for that energy. I just like to use that as a super boost to what I’m already doing. But you get to decide. So get really clear. We’re going to back up, we’re not going to talk about how many days you roll things into.

We’re going to talk about you need to pull up your calendar and you need to identify what are the days that are holidays for you, holidays that you celebrate, events that you have to attend. And get really clear on how many days are we talking. Because right now I don’t know it off the top of my head, but we probably have 50 days left of the year. It’s not 50 holidays. It’s 50 days left of the year give or take. And then you have to decide, what are you going to do for those holidays?

And that’s where planning is going to really, really help you because you’re going to be tempted to lean very far in either direction of, we’re either just going all out, eating whatever we want, as much as we want, things that we would never plan, things that we don’t even really like. I think we’ve all been there where it’s just like if it’s there I’m going to eat it. You have all these holiday things where there’s just a bunch of crap on the table that you would never eat. You would never plan, you would never buy but it’s there and it looks good.

And you’ve already eaten a ton, it doesn’t really matter what you do. Everything I just said was not factual. Everything I just said is just the thinking that’s going to come up for you. And so you have to decide can you, and this is why I think it’s so important to practice this, year round, this is why I coach people on this year round. Because I don’t believe that all the special food, and special events, and special indulgences should be saved for the last three months of the year.

Because what that does when you haven’t done the work in advance is you have not practiced learning how to allow, and enjoy, and moderate these foods. And now you’re just going to be in these situations where you’re just faced with all this food you avoid all year, believing that you can’t have it, believing that it’s bad for you, believing that it can’t be part of a healthy lifestyle. So if you choose to eat it then you must not be engaging in a healthy lifestyle. In that case eat everything.

So that’s why it really is important to practice this year round. But in the event that you haven’t been, what do people do?

Ryan: I want to pick your brain around something that I think will help a lot of people in this situation. Because we’re not saying don’t eat what you want on holidays. Enjoy yourself, it’s the holiday. But I think where the real struggle lies is being home and not having anything to do. It’s the time off work. It’s the extended weekends where people are just sitting around enjoying family or just relaxing. That becomes a real struggle. And I’d like to know what do you think will help those scenarios?

Maggie: I think it’s funny because for the most part what you’re coming face to face with is your inability to be with yourself.

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And trust me, I have been there, that used to be the beginning, middle and end of my holidays was just like, “What will we eat? What will we eat this entire time that we’re here?” But you’ve got to get more creative. I mean it’s a really good chance to do that internal work that most people are avoiding. And it’s just like you might be bored. So what? You’ve been dealing with this lately. You’ve found that it’s harder to eat on plan on the weekends because you’re not in your normal routine. You’re not doing work.

We’re with the kids from sunup to sundown. There’s lots of screaming. So what’s the answer?

Ryan: For me?

Maggie: Yeah.

Ryan: Last weekend I kept myself a little more busy and it helped a lot.

Maggie: Yeah. And we’re not saying to distract yourself because that’s not always the answer too. But we have to get more realistic about what these situations look like. It will be louder on the weekends. There will be more screaming. For us there’s just so much stimulation with two kids and puppy, and everyone fighting, and yelling, and screaming, and mad, and needing something. That it can start feeling this is so overwhelming, I’m going to eat. Or I’m so bored, I’m going to eat.

What it really always boils back down to is we’re feeling something, it’s uncomfortable. And we’re using food as the solve. And there’s a huge scale of that. It could just be boredom to the full other end of the scale where we’re trying to really soothe massive, massive pain versus I’m just restless right now. So you have to decide what you’re going to do about your restlessness. Because most people will default to, I’m going to distract myself. And they’re unwilling to just feel bored, it’s okay to feel bored.

Ryan: It’s hard. It’s hard to feel bored. It’s hard to sit on the couch when it’s raining outside and you’re underneath a blanket watching Netflix and just sit there.

Maggie: But do you hear what you’re saying though?

Ryan: I know and I’m kind of dishing it up for you.

Maggie: I know, you are dishing it up real good. This is so hard because I’m in my house under a blanket, watching Netflix. The stories we tell ourselves, the way we describe what’s happening is so important. Because I’m not saying don’t go do stuff. But also to just be like, “It’s so unfair that I have time off and this is so frustrating. I deserve to just eat sleeve after sleeve of Oreos, or whatever we think we deserve because we’re so bored.” It comes from this entitled place, we’re so used to being so overstimulated all the time.

We’re constantly on our phone. We’re constantly doing. We’re never alone with ourselves. I think it’s gotten 20 times as bad as it used to be very recently. And I think there’s been a huge uptick in the last couple of years where we just don’t know what to do with our hands. What are we supposed to do, just sit here cold in our house under a blanket? And it’s like, yeah. We have to stop solving everything with food, and distraction, and buffers that are just like I don’t want to be bored.

Ryan: I just want to help people get to a place where when they are feeling those urges to eat in those scenarios that they can allow it without feeling they’re white knuckling. You know what I mean?

Maggie: Yeah. But that’s what we talk about, and I don’t know episodes off the top of our head. But any episodes that you guys see where we talk about urges, or allowing feelings, or allowing emotions, that’s the work that you have to do. That’s the alternative. The alternative is you’re either resisting it until you give into it, or you’re allowing it to be there and saying, “Boredom will not kill me.” I can surely go decide something else that I want to do but there is no rush to get out of this.

And I know that that’s easier said than done. But most of everything that we’re doing is to gain an emotion or to avoid an emotion. We either want to feel excited or we want to avoid feeling bored. And it’s all emotion work. It’s all thought work. And so that’s what comes up around the holidays. And most people aren’t willing to do the work of allowing themselves to be bored or to go into problem solving mode. The quickest way to solve that problem is put food in my mouth.

But then we’re not realizing what’s on the other end of that, what’s waiting for us, what’s building up as we keep taking this consistent action that’s very different action than what we’re normally doing. And what we’re going to be left with once we get to the point where we’re like, “Okay.” You will decide to stop what you’re doing. When do you choose to do that? Will it be January 1st, or will it be November 30th? So that’s one aspect of it, just know you will decide to stop.

My recommendation is that if you notice the behavior happening, that you choose to stop sooner than later. Because the mess that we create for ourselves for the 1st of the year, where we really, we just get so sick of our shit and we’re like, “Enough, dude, that is enough.” That’s totally optional. And I don’t think a lot of people think it is. So some good tips for that.

One that I heard recently which obviously we are proponents of is if your brain is all up on its own bullshit, you need to start drowning it out with something else. Stick a podcast in your ear. Just put different thinking in your ears if you start to feel like the soundtrack playing in your head is just, I don’t have time for this, this is so overwhelming, I’m so bored. I’m so sick of this. Because I get in the same thing, I can’t wait to get back in my routine.

Ryan: One thing that massively, massively helps is turning on your coaching calls in the ear. You know what I mean? It does shift your mindset now, it really does. And it could take you out of your gutter thinking really quickly.

Maggie: Yes. What you need is a shift in perspective for the most part. But here’s the problem, most people will start with their own bullshit. They’ll start taking action that they don’t want to be taking and then they’ll disconnect from everything that would help them shift it. Because they feel so terrible, and they don’t want to be reminded that they have a choice and that they’re making the wrong one or whatever. And there’s lots of air quotes happening over here. But they don’t want the reminder that there is work that could be done or that there is another option.

They just want to do what they want to do. And so what I see a lot is people disconnect from what could actually help them. They stop listening to the podcast. They stop the programs that were helping them. They stop doing the things that are helping because they just want to go dark for a little bit and just do what they want to do. There’s no problem with that, again, unless there is, unless in two weeks you’re going to be like, “What have I done? What have I been doing?”

Because when we start taking those actions where we’re just numbing ourselves with food, we’re not showing up for ourselves. We’re not taking care of ourselves. We’re not showing ourselves love. We’re not eating in a way like we love ourselves. So we’re kind of turning on ourselves in a sense when we just decide, no, we’re going to block out anything that could help me here and we’ll figure it out at the 1st of the year.

And the main point here is it’s just not a given, it’s optional for you to engage in the same type of behavior, and eating, and thinking, and doing that you normally are engaging in at the end of the year. You can feel good. You can also eat the foods that you like. There’s so much more opportunity here for you to actually enjoy your holidays because you really have to question the thought that enjoying your holidays means just yolo mode for six weeks straight.

That for me, that is not enjoying anything. I feel sick. I feel tired. I feel worn out. I feel frustrated. I feel disappointed. That’s living it up? That’s enjoying the holidays? That’s hell for me. So we also have to work on that narrative that’s just like, no, this is the time to just do whatever and feel like shit for six weeks straight. That’s not even a real story. That’s not even the truth for most of us.

Ryan: Yeah. Good luck on the holidays.

Maggie: So let’s just, based on all of that, based on the main point of that being you don’t have to do what you always do. You’re going to feel, that thinking is still going to come up to just be like, “Why would we work on this now? There’s so many events coming up.” Question that thought. Most of the thinking that we have around the holidays is just incorrect and it sets us up to really feel like we’re failing ourselves. Beyond that, implement the things that we teach on this podcast. Make a plan.

Ryan: Get your calendar out.

Maggie: Get your calendar out. Decide how many holidays there actually are. And then can I just really encourage you guys to decide what is worth it for you. And I don’t mean worth it in a sense of a good and bad scale but make sure that this holiday season you’re not just eating a bunch of food just because it’s there and you would never eat it. And you don’t really even like it. And it’s old, and stale, and yucky, and in the break room and you’re just eating it because it’s there. But someone bought it at 8:00 and the top’s been open and now it’s 4:30. But it’s a crusty ass cinnamon roll.

Ryan: It’s a vivid picture.

Maggie: It’s a vivid picture, I can see in my mind based on many, many workplaces where it’s all the holiday sweets and treats and they’re all nasty.

Ryan: Every time you go to the bathroom you’re walking by that table.

Maggie: Yeah. And it’s gross. It’s not even appealing but it’s just there and it’s just the holiday season, it’s just what you do. There is going to be food that’s worth it to you. Ryan, can you please share with the listeners what you had last week and know what you’re so excited for this weekend?

Ryan: The pecans that they sell at the mall where they coat them, what do they even coat them with?

Maggie: They’re just sugar, they’re just caramelized.

Ryan: Dude, they’re so good.

Maggie: Two weeks ago he was like, “Do you think they have those pecans?” I was like, “Oh, you would know. You would know if they had them because you can smell them.” And then we were walking in the mall, and he was like, “Oh my gosh, is that?” And I’m like, “Yeah, that’s how you know.” And he had them last week and he’s so excited to have them because we kind of go to this mall every week. It’s kind of weird, but it’s near all the food that we eat for date night, and he is so excited about it. And there is nothing like candied – I mean this is obviously not a fact.

But there’s nothing like candied almonds, candied pecans while you’re walking through the mall. Like he’s talking about how excited he is about it. And there are going to be things this holiday season, like your mom, I mean I hope she’s listening to this. Hopefully, she’s going to make us cinnamon rolls otherwise we need to let her know. But she makes these really good cinnamon rolls, and she puts walnuts in them. And I haven’t had them in I don’t even know how many years. They’re so good. I want to have one if she makes them, if she’s listening, she’ll do cinnamon rolls.

Ryan: She’ll make them.

Maggie: I’m sure she will. Those kind of things where it’s like I want that thing. It’s important to me. I love the way that tastes. Make sure that when it comes to family parties, and events, and gatherings, and even your own holiday stuff, know what’s important to you. And know what you can pass on. And know that you don’t have to eat it because it’s in front of you. And it actually feels a lot better to eat stuff where you’re like, “I really wanted this. I planned on this. I’m excited about it.” While you’re also prioritizing what else is important to you.

And if you’re listening to this podcast and you connect with my story at all you know that feeling good is so important to me. That I’m not willing to throw all of that out in the name of eating all the food. And we did this for a week last year. We had a little week where we fell off, like I said, you get to choose how quickly this ends. Guys, we ate Arby’s and it was so gross. I’ll never forget. It’s not that I hate Arby’s, but it was in combination with other stuff we had eaten over a three, four day period.

Ryan: Arby’s is rarely a good choice.

Maggie: We had Arby’s but Carl’s Jr. We just had a bunch of fast food things really close. And I was just like, I’ll just never forget how gross it was. And I was like, I’m pretty sure after that Arby’s I was like, “That’s enough.” But just decide what is worth it? What are you looking forward to? What do you want to prioritize? But what else do you want to prioritize? What else is important to you this holiday season? You have family. You have loved ones. You have events. You have holidays that you’re celebrating.

There are other reasons for this season than food. So don’t get caught in the fog of just eat, drink, buy all of the things. Prioritize what’s important and what’s important for you as far as what you plan and enjoy in moderation, knowing that you can just get right back to your plan the next day. One day, two days does not need to lead into six weeks. You will be so, just hear me when I say that you will be so happy that you didn’t let two days roll into six weeks. I can guarantee you that.

I’m 100% certain that you will not regret enjoying the holidays and then living the four weeks in between those holidays, and then enjoying those holidays, and then enjoying that last week. Do you know what I mean?

Ryan: Yeah.

Maggie: Get real, be honest with yourself.

Ryan: Good luck.

Maggie: See you next week.

Ryan: See you.

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