To help you finish 2017 strong with your weight loss goals, we’ve provided four tips you can do today to help you win at losing weight, even during the holidays.

1. Write Down Why You Over-Indulged

Becoming aware of your eating behaviors is necessary for you to begin to change them.

Some psychologists have broken down eating behavior into three parts. The first part is the “antecedent.” An antecedent can be an event, situation, feeling, or other cue that triggers you to eat. The second part is “behavior.” The behavior is the resulting eating action you take. The third part is “consequence.” The consequence is the event, feeling, or attitude that follows after eating.

Whenever you find yourself eating food items not in your Diet Center meal plan for the day, try to record the events in these three parts. Your list of antecedents may include items such as the smell or sight of baked goods, watching television, feeling depressed, socializing with friends, etc. Then record your behavior with as much detail as possible. For example, maybe you ate a bag of nuts or chips while watching television, or consumed a pint ice cream when you felt depressed. Then write down the consequences of each behavior. Maybe you felt bloated after eating the chips, or guilty after eating ice cream. Some consequences may be positive. For example, maybe you felt comfort after drinking a cup of coffee with friends.

Examine your list and look for trends that have led to bad eating habits. Look at which events happen that often cause negative consequences. Your list will be useful in helping you identify problem areas so you can determine solutions to improving your eating behaviors.

2. Have a Positive Attitude About Exercise

When you perceive things as negative, chances are you will not stick to it.  Just as thinking positive about your diet program will help you succeed, so will thinking positive about your exercise program!  When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about your program, you need to counter them with positive ones.  For example, whenever you think, “I’m tired,” instead you can think, “If I push through, I’ll feel energized later.”  Instead of thinking, “I don’t like to sweat,” you can think, “Sweating helps to cool my body down as I work hard to lose weight.”

When you think you’re bored, try thinking about any fun plans you have for the week.  Maybe there’s someone you can converse with, or a favorite t.v. show you can watch while exercising.  If your muscles feel sore or achy, remember that you’re challenging muscles you’re not used to using.  Think about how you’re making progress and building muscles that will help burn calories!  Exercise doesn’t always feel good, especially when you’re just starting out.  Thinking positive can help make exercise feel easier, so you can stick to your program to help you lose weight!

3. Don’t Skip Meals

About 28% of Americans are skipping meals. Some people figure they can consume more calories at the next meal, or they figure they are making up for cheating on their diet the night before. If you are trying to control your weight by skipping meals, you may actually be having an opposite effect.  In order to keep your metabolism up and continue burning calories, you need to give your body fuel regularly.  Think of feeding your body as filling your car with gas.  When you are hungry, your body is out of fuel like your car is out of gas.  When this happens, how does your car function? Not well, if it functions at all.

Your body reacts similarly to a lack of fuel.  When you skip a meal when your body needs to be fed, you deprive your body of nutrients that are not made up at the following meal.  This results in your body’s metabolism slowing down.  A slower metabolism burns fewer calories, which will most likely result in a decrease in weight loss. Therefore, it is important that you consume all the foods in your Diet Center program at regular meal times. Think of hunger pangs as your body’s “fuel light” going on because it needs to be filled!

4. Holiday Weight Gain is a Myth

Despite temptations and cold weather blues, you don’t have to fear a five pound weight gain during fall and winter seasons! Such a weight gain during the holidays is actually a myth. According to the North American Association for the Study of Obesity, most people gain less than a pound. National Institutes of Health researchers tracked the weights of 200 men and women from late September through early March. They found these people gained .8 pounds on average during the holidays, and 1.05 pounds on average by March.  They also found that activity had a significant impact on gain or loss. People who became less active during these seasons, gained 1.5 pounds. People who were more physically active lost 1.5 pounds!

Boredom, bulkier clothes, and/or depression from dreary weather may contribute to the temptation of higher fat foods. While you may not have to worry about a 5 pound weight gain over the holidays; you may have to worry about it if you gain even 1 pound year after year. So try to stick to your Diet Center program and be active. The holidays don’t have to hinder your weight loss!