Chances are, if you’re contemplating a New Year’s resolution, shedding those extra pounds is at the top of your list, according to a Marist Poll.1
But the best time to make a weight loss commitment is sooner rather than later, according to Dr. Pamela Peeke, chair of the Jenny Craig Science Advisory Board, who is sharing four good reasons to make a pre-New Year’s resolution.
Here are her insights to consider, and, if you add the help of Jenny Craig’s Rapid Results, you can lose up to 16 pounds in the first four weeks (average weight loss was 11.6 pounds for those who completed the studies), making it a great way to start an early weight loss resolution.
Reason #1: You’ll love your holiday photos
Whether it’s pictures snapped at work parties, family photos sent out with Christmas or Hanukkah cards, or the chronicling of special moments spent with family and friends, the holidays are loaded with photo ops. But how often have you avoided pictures because you didn’t feel good about being in front of the camera?
“A common refrain we hear from members is that they avoided having pictures taken of themselves because they weren’t happy with their weight,” says Carrie Elkins, division manager for Jenny Craig Anywhere.
By making a commitment now, you can feel healthier and more confident during the holidays — and have the photos to remember those moments.
Reason #2: You’ll be more proactive and procrastinate less
Let’s face it: If you know you want to lose weight but are waiting until January to start, you may just be delaying the inevitable. Waiting can set you up for procrastination, and procrastination can actually be harmful, according to the Association for Psychological Science, causing people higher levels of stress and lower well-being.2 Resolve to start losing weight now before the holiday madness begins and while you have the drive.
“Motivation is key when it comes to preparing the psyche for any important behavior change,” said Peeke. “Planning is always beneficial when it comes to weight loss. Creating a practical strategy to take the small steps necessary to improve lifestyle habits will take you from a dream to an achievable goal.”
Reason #3: Starting now means a different resolution in January
Beginning your weight loss journey now can give you the confidence to tackle a different resolution in January. So, make a new New Year’s resolution! Use the motivation gained by following through on your weight loss goal to fuel your next challenge.
Reason #4: The time is right
For many Americans, the holiday season starts with Halloween. That’s three months of potential overindulgence. In fact, one study noted that on average, people gain between almost 1 and 5 pounds during the holiday season.3 But with the right tools, including eating reduced-calorie meals and getting information about how to eat healthfully and exercise, 60% of the study participants who were challenged to maintain their weight from Thanksgiving to New Year’s were able to achieve their weight maintenance goal and lost an average of 2 pounds.4 If you can adopt healthy habits before the holidays and put them into practice, you may just counteract these effects to gain less or even maintain your weight during the holidays.
If you can adopt healthy habits before the holidays, you may just counteract these effects to gain less or even maintain your weight during the holidays.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, I cannot emphasize that enough!” said Peeke. “The goal is to stave off weight gain leading into the holidays, and regroup to get on track with healthier lifestyle habits in the New Year.”
So instead of waiting until 2019 to start making changes, get a head start on your resolution and your journey to better health.
Tips to avoid holiday weight gain
Even if you make a firm resolution to lose weight now, the holidays can still be a challenge. Here are tips to help keep you on track.
1. Think of the various holiday events as just that: a holiday.
As tempting as it is to keep candy in the house well past October 31, Halloween is not a whole week, just like Thanksgiving and the December holidays are not month-long celebrations. You can still have a great holiday season and lose weight — just regroup and get right back on track the day after a celebration.
2. Plan ahead.
Make a game plan before you head out the door for a holiday celebration. Consider working with a personal weight loss consultant, like one at Jenny Craig, if you need additional guidance. In addition, review the following strategies which may help keep you on track with your weight loss plan:
- Fill up on healthy food before your holiday meal. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can compensate for calories eaten later by skipping meals earlier in the day — doing so can make you ravenous later on and cause you to make poorer food choices.5
- Survey the food before selecting what you want to eat. Instead of taking some of everything that’s on the holiday table, be selective. Take a close look at all the foods being offered, then come up with a plan for which ones you really want to eat — you don’t have to take something simply because it’s on the table. And, of course, be mindful of your portion sizes.
3. Get some exercise before the holiday meal — and throughout the holiday season.
Getting activity in before you head off to your holiday celebration will not only burn some extra calories, but it may put you in the right frame of mind to keep you from overindulging. Also, try to schedule a workout or a walk with friends or family for the day after the holiday so you get right back into the swing of things. In fact, try to stay as active every day — there’s no need to postpone activity just because it’s holiday time!
4. Take something off your to-do list.
The holidays are a notoriously busy time, but that doesn’t mean your healthy eating plan needs to suffer. By having delicious, healthy, ready-made meals on hand, you can take one thing off your plate while staying on track with your weight loss goals. Plus, who wants to venture out to do grocery shopping when it’s cold and rainy outside?
5. It’s OK to say no.
As part of your holiday eating plan, you’ll be choosing the foods and portion sizes that work for you, so don’t cave in to pressure from others to eat beyond that. If you can master the PRP technique (polite, reason, polite), you'll have an easier time saying no.
6. Make new traditions.
Instead of baking snowman cookies with your family, try crafting or creating a new, non-food activity for the entire family to enjoy. Or cook up these delicious, healthy holiday side dishes that everyone is sure to love.
As you contemplate your weight loss plan, we hope you will consider that now may be the best time to start your journey. We also hope that your holidays, while still a way off, are filled with family and friends, special moments and memories, and lots of photos … with you in them!
Are you ready to start working toward better health before January 1? Contact Jenny Craig for a free appointment to meet with a personal weight loss consultant to discuss your health goals this fall!
Carole is an award-winning journalist based in Southern California who specializes in health and wellness topics. Her work has appeared in Parents, Fit Pregnancy, Mom & Baby, Yahoo News, Viv magazine and Lifescript. She's won several national awards for her work including a National Science Award and two National Health Information awards. A frequent contributor to Jenny Craig’s Blog, Healthy Habits, she enjoys gardening, spending time at the beach and adopting far too many rescue animals in her spare time.
Favorite healthy snack: jicama dipped in homemade hummus
Monica has over 15 years of experience with Jenny Craig, as an expert nutrition and program resource. She develops content, training, tools and strategies for the program to support clients throughout their weight loss journey, and offers inspiration, weight loss tips, lifestyle strategies and motivation. Monica holds a Bachelor of Science degree with a double major in Dietetics and Exercise, Fitness & Health from Purdue University and continues to stay current on weight management research, consumer trends and healthcare developments.
Favorite healthy snack: raw veggie sticks with homemade hummus
This article is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
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