You Can Bounce Back from Your Holiday Diet Fails

You’d be surprised how many of us let ourselves go during the holidays — on purpose!

Most people go a little overboard during the holidays. With all of the grazing at the snack tables, endless family meals and busy schedule, it’s not easy to stay on a diet. Most people decide just to take a break from dieting rather than resist the constant onslaught of temptation. If your diet went out the window for the holidays don’t despair. You can still get back on track.

Identify the Real Issue

Human beings are prone to the “ostrich problem” which means they shield themselves from facing reality. When we take a break from dieting during the holidays, we are telling ourselves it’s okay to overdo it for a little while. Researchers refer to this as “motivated inattention” and it’s a self-protection mechanism that defends your integrity and prevents you from feeling as though you’ve failed. While this is a natural response, you must recognize your mind’s ability to do this, so you can avoid it in the future.

holiday diet recovery

The Mistake of Taking a Break

Taking a break during the holidays means you’re off your diet plan for about five weeks. Think about that… gaining back the weight from the last five weeks of hard work because you can’t face reality? Is it worth it?

Not only is breaking from your diet plan during the holidays more of a hiatus than a “break,” it’s also the worst possible time to let down your guard. It’s like shutting off the water supply when you see a fire starting. The holidays is the most important time for you to track every calorie consumed and spent. That doesn’t mean you can’t indulge. You just need to remain accountable. If you’re not watching the calories in, how can you possibly adjust your expenditure to make up for them?

But those are thoughts for next holiday season. Right now, it’s important to forgive yourself. The past is done. It’s all right that you strayed from your diet and your goals. There’s no need to feel guilty or doubt your ability to continue with a diet in the future. In fact, by acknowledging the failure you can work harder to avoid it. Ignoring the fact you failed only means you’re more likely to do it again.

Start by Setting More Realistic Goals

You need a sense of accomplishment when you’re on a diet and the best way to do that is by setting achievable, realistic goals. Often diets fail because people have unrealistic expectations for themselves. Set goals that are measurable. For example, you can set a goal to run 10 minutes every day or you can set a goal to lose a particular number of pounds per month rather than annually.

Some people need daily goals to keep motivated. If this is like you, try setting easy, daily goals that help you improve and stick to your diet over time.

Setbacks Happen

No matter how dedicated you are, setbacks are normal and do happen. If you decide to take a break during the holidays next time, promise yourself that you will at the very least maintain your weight during that time. Continue to track your food and exercise, while enjoying those treats, knowing they aren’t making you gain weight and that you can get back to losing weight again after the holidays.

You can ruin a year’s hard work in just five weeks. Rather than let this time of year get the better of your goals again, trudge through it knowing you have permission to enjoy the season as long as you remain aware of what it does to your weight.