Halloween and the season of starving for a costume is over and now we are sliding into the season of a million parties and temptations. If you can eat and drink anything you want and not gain unwanted weight, today’s column is not for you. Congrats and go have a rocking good time!

Anyone who is still with me, let’s look at some simple strategies to maintain where our weight is through Jan. 1. many people gain weight over the holidays and end up feeling heavy and uncomfortable in January, and that’s where the New Year’s resolutions kick in.

Know That It’s All Mental

Arnold Shwarzenegger said it best: “You can have results or excuses, but not both.” It really comes down to making a decision and a choice. Sometimes we want to choose healthy eating and the right exercise but instead we choose a tub of ice cream and a whole cake while not leaving the couch all day. I make that choice sometimes, and I don’t guilt myself for it. I did some emotion eating over the last couple of months while I dealt with some emotional family business. I made that choice and I was fine with it. I did not feel guilt. A couple of weeks ago I decided I was over that hurdle, and now I have been choosing to do what I know works to tighten my body back up. I have lost six pounds, and I will fine tune down four more before Thanksgiving.

Being at my ideal weight for Thanksgiving will do two things for me (maybe this could work for you too):

— First, it will give me license to be able to eat without guilt. I no longer want to be that one person about whom everyone wonders he will have anything to feed me when I come over because I am so restrictive with my diet.

— Second, I will feel tight and good, and this helps me not pig out but graze.

This will work for me because I have a plan and an endgame. Here are the areas we look at when I am helping a client get ready for the holidays:

Planning Is Key

OFFICE environments can be very tricky and full saboteurs. On the regular, people are bringing in bagels, cookies, brownies, etc. during the holidays. This practice of challenging your will in the name of “being friendly” is ramped up on steroids.

HOLIDAY PARTIES are full of treats, booze and regret.

FAMILY can be just as relentless as the outside world at wanting to see you fat. They will try and shove fattening food into your mouth too.

What do all these scenarios have in common? People we know (and some of whom we love) pressuring us into bad decisions. I know a lot of you have a hard time saying no in these situations. For many of the people I work with it’s because they don’t want to hurt people’s feelings. We are taught it is impolite to turn down someone’s cooking or offering. I suggest a couple of options.

1) Get ok with saying “no thank you.” If you are committed to feeling good about your body, don’t let anyone guilt you out of that.

2) Take a small plate and throw it out when no one is looking. If you know that what they are giving you is going to be trash in your body, what’s wrong with it being trash in the trash can?

When to Cut Loose

It’s not necessarily a good look to drink too much and be lit up at a work-related holiday party. This is a great place to hold back on your drinking, which makes it easier to hold back on your eating. People tend to make poor eating decisions with a couple of drinks in them, so make this a chill social night.

When you hold back at certain events you have free reign to “go in” when you are going to that one party where you know the food is always amazing. Don’t gain weight on sub-par food. This might also be a party with friends where you allow yourself an extra drink or two because it’s appropriate. If you end up eating too many carbs to soak up the booze, you were ready for that.

The Bottom Line

If you like to go all out during the holidays and have no problem flipping the switch to heavy workouts and light healthy eating each January, then by all means do you and ignore me.

But if you want to enjoy the holidays and not feel heavy or bad about yourself in January, commit to that goal and look at your calendar. Where would you like to splurge and not restrict yourself? Where are you cool with letting the tray pass by you? Do you need to squeeze in some extra workouts or a run to keep balance?

Whatever you choose, be cool with it and stick to it. If you want to eat, drink and be merry, don’t beat yourself up or complain to your friends about what a pig you are being and how fat you feel. If you want to stick to your guns and do what you need to do to maintain your weight, don’t cheat on your goals and don’t feel deprived. You are only depriving yourself of not feeling good.

Monte Cox

About The Author:

Monte Cox is a NASM certified personal trainer with three advanced certifications working with private clients and small groups in West Hollywood and Los Angeles. He specializes in adapting advanced training techniques specific to each individual clients needs and assists with personalized eating plans to achieve goals. He can be seen weekly hosting the only gay focused sports TV show, “Weho Sports Show,” on Time Warner/ Spectrum. For inquiries or more information please visit www.montecoxbody.com

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