How to Maintain Weight Through the Holidays

We recently received an email from one of our clients, Kristi. She has worked very hard, and had much success with maintaining her 60 lb weight loss for a little over a year now. She tells us that although she still has questions, and although it has not been easy, with time and support she is finding that her new habits are becoming second nature. However, she works at it every day, and still has questions! Because we get these questions a lot this time of year, we asked Kristi if we could share her email, and our response below.

“The questions I find myself wondering are:  Do “thin” people have weight fluctuations?  What is normal?  Is it normal for a healthy person’s weight to go up and down during the year?  Is it seasonal?  Or is “normal” really being able to maintain a steady weight all the time?  As I said, even after a year, I feel as though I have much to learn.”

What is the truth behind maintenance? There is a common misconception that once a person reaches his or her healthy weight, the most trivial work has been completed. Losing weight requires a great deal of work, but as many of you have found, maintaining weight loss requires the same intentional, focused mindset. This holiday season we want to talk about the importance of maintenance, why you can do it, and why you will thank yourself later for the extra attention you give your body this holiday season.

Regardless of what you are celebrating this month, it’s likely that you are finding yourself confronted with more decisions surrounding your food choices. Between the holiday parties, traditions, and the marketing splurge highlighting anything and everything that involves chocolate, pumpkin, whipped, and/or gingerbread…it’s important to come up for air and reconnect with your goals.

We will be redundant here, as we know this was mentioned in our previous holiday blogs, but you must first remember and choose to focus on more than just the food. Remember that your holiday traditions exist because of relationships, and the meaning behind what the holiday encompasses. While you may choose to indulge now and then, if you want to maintain your weight, you must also choose to return to your healthy habits the very next day.

That may sound intimidating, but think about it. You make decisions all year round, and you have been choosing to eat foods that make you feel better. You are making decisions every day, and confronted with birthdays and events throughout the entire year. Yes, the marketing, childhood memories and traditions may feel unyielding during the holidays, but your ability to keep with it is something you can do—because you’re already doing it!

Cold hard facts behind weight loss and maintenance:

Our bodies have a set point. Your old weight is a set point. This means that your body recognizes that weight as safe. Once you reach a new weight, it will take time for your body to recognize this new weight as safe. Your hormones and satiety signals will want to fight you as you work to maintain this new weight, because they don’t recognize it as safe yet.

In order to re-set your set point you must assure your body that this new weight is in fact safe, and in order to convince your hormones and satiety signals to play along you must maintain this new weight consistently.  Long story short, if you lose weight and return to old eating habits, your body will not fight you. It is the compounding days of indulgence that will add up, and discourage your body from finding this new, lower set point.

All of that being said, please remember that this is a process. To directly respond to Kristi’s questions- Yes, everyone’s weight fluctuates with life, and it is honing in on those fluctuations and responding to them accordingly that makes an excellent “maintainer.” It is great to have questions, and it is normal to get frustrated. Be patient with your process, and we will all keep learning.

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