How to Stop Eating Your Way Through The Holiday Season Like a Psychotic Lunatic!

When I was really struggling to lose weight, I had a love/hate relationship with the holidays because for me, the holidays were ALL ABOUT FOOD!

While I always loved making a jack-o-lantern, and decorating a Christmas tree, as a kid I always looked forward to holiday baking and all the FOOD that suddenly appeared seemingly from out of nowhere.

While I modestly hated the feeling of my clothes getting tighter, I loved the holidays because it was like there was now an allowable reason for me to overeat. All the time.

It’s like as soon as Labor Day was over, and it was officially fall– game on!

If you start to get a gnawing sensation in your gut with the anticipation of the holidays because you’re already seeing the Halloween candy in the stores, then I want to share with you about how to flip this switch, and break out of psychotic lunatic holiday eating for good.

For me, it would all start with the cookies– pumpkin shaped sugar cookies for Halloween, then Halloween candy, then anything baked with pumpkin, then anything with pecans, then anything with chocolate, mint, booze, wine, champagne, and you get it.

By the time New Years Day came around I was hiding from the scale and shamefully shuffling my 10-pound heavier self back to Weight Watchers in my stretchy pants– not just because they were the lightest thing in my closet, but because it was all that fit.

When I really got serious about losing weight, I learned that while it was great to enjoy foods I don’t typically get to have, there was a point where the enjoyment of eating shifted to hating myself and F-it eating, or eating simply because I’d blown it.

There were times when I’d go to a party and because it was “the holidays” I’d use that as a reason to go into a fog. I’d say I was “giving myself the night off”, but the truth was I was just using it as an excuse to disconnect from the discomfort I felt from being a responsible adult who manages her mind.

This is how it would look.

I’d go to a party, tell myself it was “the holidays”, have a glass of wine, a plate or two of appetizers, then another glass of wine.

Then I’d have another glass of wine, pick at more appetizers and have another glass of wine.

By then I had a solid buzz, and even though I was still aware, I’d tell myself that I’d start again tomorrow, and have 10 desserts, and pretty much eat until I was so stuffed that I had to lay on my side to relieve myself of the discomfort.

Eating to this point was never fun, and never made me feel more “in the holiday spirit.”

Instead I’d wake up the next day feeling like a total loser, and eating like a bird for the following week so I could slide back into Weight Watchers the following week without gaining “too much.” Then strategically plan my next weigh in to be the morning of the next holiday party so I’d once again have another reason to recover.

Looking back, I KNOW that using “the holidays” as a reason to overeat was why I always gained weight from September through January. I hated being stuck and feeling like I could never lose weight, but I also loved letting myself off the hook because in the moment it felt good, it felt like relief, and my brain loved it!

You see, our brains love doing what they’ve always done– they are efficient, and when we have been in the habit of doing the same thing for years, making a change takes significant effort. I’ll be honest– it’s hard. But for every part of hard you experience, I can assure you there is 10x the amount of reward on the other side.

So here’s the million dollar question– how do you stop?

First off, you decide what you want more.

What do you want January 1st? We have a whole season, a whole quarter ahead of us. 90 days is all the time it takes for people to make change– even for those of us who are slow 😉

So decide today. Are you going to gain weight, maintain weight, or lose weight?

It’s totally your choice.

Now what will you COMMIT to doing through the holidays to get your result?

(i.e. I will commit to writing down my food every day even if I go over my macros/calories/Points; I will commit to working out 5 times a week; I will commit to eating only one serving of dessert at each holiday event, I will commit to eating only x pieces of holiday candy, etc.)

More importantly what will you COMMIT to NOT DOING during the holidays?

(i.e. I will NOT use a holiday party as a reason to throw in the towel on my whole day; I will NOT use candy at my office as a reason to overeat; I will NOT overeat on any food I can get any other time of the year just because it’s in a seasonal wrapper, etc.)

Now I want to offer a sample intention for you to take with you. You can create your own, but I’m sharing these to get you thinking

I will NEVER quit on my commitment

I am 100% committed to hitting my goal

I am a badass who shows up for every workout

Or my friend, Dave’s saying “F*ck it! I’m going all in!”

I am sharing these with you because we like to let ourselves off the hook with our intentions. We like to say things like “I’ll try to stick to my plan” or “It’s possible to stick to a plan.” While these are good thoughts, there is no accountability. If you are only trying, then some days you may not be trying. Or you could say you tried and it didn’t work.

If you tell yourself I Never quit on my commitment; I AM committed; This is happening; I ONLY work toward results, then you OWN your goal. Create a goal with feeling– something that resonates in your bones, heats your belly, stirs your heart– something that GETS you going.

Honor your commitment, and tell yourself your intention every day, every hour, every minute, or any time you sense your brain wanting to let you off the hook.

Here’s the good news– you can still 100% enjoy every holiday event and lose weight! It’s totally possible. Yes, even holiday parties! Check out my Special Occasion Strategy for more details on how to nail every social occasion from now through New Years!

If you’d love to make progress on your weight goals this holiday season, but want support getting there, book a free 30-minute solution session with me where I can show you exactly what you need to do to get results.

How to Break Through a Plateau

Someone asked me the other day how to break through a plateau, so I wanted to offer some thoughts to those of you who are stuck.

But first, let me ask a question. Have you been consistent with your plan, or are you “stuck” because you’re not following your program and are looking for a way to lose weight fast?

A lot of people think they are stuck, but don’t follow their protocol 100% and then wonder why they aren’t getting results.

If this is you, then you have to decide if you just WANT to lose weight (you like the idea of it) or you’re COMMITTED to losing weight (meaning you’re willing to take action).

If you’re not sure how to lose weight, see my previous post here.

If you have 100% been following a program, and are not getting results, here are some things you can try to get the scale moving again:

Eat Less

Exercise More

I know you are probably rolling your eyes, but it’s true. Weight loss happens when we are in a caloric deficit. End of story.

Here are some questions I ask my clients when we are discussing plateaus:

Are you consistent with your plan? Y/N
Are you only eating mindfully according to your protocol and avoiding overeats? Y/N
Do you measure portions? Y/N
Are you accurate tracking your food? Y/N
Are you pre-planning your meals? Y/N
Are you sleeping adequately? Y/N
Are you drinking enough water in the day? Y/N

Look at the questions above, and if there is an area where you’ve honestly said no– then you know where you need to focus.

What about HIIT workouts? People think they need to do HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) workouts when they are on a plateau. HIIT workouts burn more calories than traditional steady-state workouts and often keep heart rate elevated longer after exercise, so there is an overall increased calorie burn in the day (i.e.- increased caloric deficit).

Here’s where people get it wrong- they incorporate a HIIT workout and then eat a pint of B&Js. No– just don’t. Swapping your walk on the treadmill for a HIIT workout could do the trick– adding in extra food BECAUSE you’re working out, not so much.

What about eating less? If you are maintaining your intake over a period of time or eating consistent portions of the same food, and haven’t seen the scale move in over two weeks, then it may be time to drop things down a smidge. If you are practicing intuitive eating, this may also mean allowing yourself to be hungry or eating to satisfaction, not stuffed.

People don’t like this answer, or will misinterpret to think they suddenly need to eat 1000 calories a day to lose weight– don’t be that person. Be realistic. Dropping a small portion, an extra snack, or an 100-200 calories a day from your total daily intake if you’re tracking should get the job done. Drop it, be consistent, check again in two weeks.

What about undereating? Believe it or not, this too may be a problem if you’ve been dieting for an extended period of time. If you’ve been undereating and can’t seem to lose weight on very low calories, then you may need to do a reverse diet to improve your metabolic capacity.

Be Honest. I used to stick to my diet perfectly during the week and then eat like a drunken sailor one day a week and would tell myself something was wrong with my metabolism because I didn’t get results. NOTHING was wrong with my metabolism, but binge eating and excessive overeating was keeping me stuck. Be honest with your eating habits.

If you’d like more information on how to break through your plateau, click here to schedule a solution session with me.

#3 Mistake People Make in Weight Loss

This is my third article in this series. If you haven’t read the others yet, you can find them here.

The subject I’m sharing with you today is one of my favorite because it was the hardest for me to learn.

I’m sharing it because part of the human experience is realizing that we don’t get everything we want in the timeframe we think we should have it, and that’s ok.

Mistake #3: Impatience

Impatience is a goal killer because the truth is that we all have human bodies, and those bodies have loads of things going on at any one time.

We think that because we start doing weight-loss producing activities that the results should be immediate, but the truth is that our bodies will drop weight when we are in a caloric deficit when it is ready, not when you are ready.

How many times have you been doing all of the right things, thinking your weight has dropped, then you get on the scale and see no change at all? It happens. It doesn’t mean anything has gone wrong.

What is wrong is when we make it things like:

  • I’m a failure
  • I’ll never lose weight
  • Losing weight is for everyone else but not for me
  • Something’s wrong with me
  • I’m getting too old to lose weight
  • I’ll always be fat
  • Or a myriad of other really crappy thoughts that are totally useless and not true.

What if instead you chose to look at it from the perspective of the woman who already achieved the goal. It’s done; in the bag. How would she look at your situation? What would she say? Probably things like:

  • Keep committing, you’ll get there!
  • I know exactly how to lose weight!
  • Everything is right on track!
  • I know how to take exceptional care of myself!
  • My dream is worth my time!
  • I’m learning patience with this experience!
  • This is happening for me!
  • Results are in the bag!
  • You got this!
  • Just keep going!

The key is to not get stuck in the moment. Think ahead of how your future self would show up for you, and follow her every day until you get to your goal.

Be patient my friends. Believe you will get there, and you absolutely will.

If you need help with impatience, schedule a solution session with me here. I’d love to help you take the next steps on your journey.

#2 Mistake People Make on Weight Loss

If you saw my first post on this topic, then you already know the #1 Mistake People Make on Weight Loss. So great, you’re committed; you’ve got a BIG WHY! What’s next? Read on…

“Should I do the keto diet?”

It’s the first thing a lot of people ask me about weight loss.

Here’s what I say, “Is the keto diet going to be fun and sustainable for you long term?”

You might think thoughts like:

  • Absolutely yes! It is how I feel my best.
  • Absolutely not! I just want to lose weight, and why are you answering my question with a question?
  • I don’t know, but I want to lose weight fast and everyone is doing the keto diet.

There is nothing wrong with the keto diet, and there is nothing NOT wrong (double neg, I know 🙂 )with the keto diet. The results created by a keto diet (unless you are using it for therapeutic reasons, and as part of a doctor’s supervised plan) are no different than those created by any other diet where you are in a caloric deficit.

So to answer your question– whether you follow a keto diet or not is entirely up to you. If it makes you feel amazing, do it. If you want to do it because you think you’ll lose weight fast while secretly wishing you could eat all the things, and then dive face-first into a pie the first minute the diet is “over” then consider other options.

Mistake #2 = Extremism

Extreme dieting is purposeful for very few people in this world, and those people are typically under medical supervision. If you are just a regular human who wants to look great in a bathing suit or feel confident when you’re naked, then extremism isn’t required; commitment is required, but not extremism.

We choose extreme approaches because we want fast results. So, let me fill you in on a little secret.

The key to weight loss is eating in a calorie deficit.

The key to weight loss maintenance is keeping weight off for the long-term, which means losing it in a way that is sustainable and makes sense.

The shocking statistics about weight regain exist because people like to use extreme measures to lose weight, and then when they get to their goal, go back to what they were doing before. How does this help?

It doesn’t!

The Biggest Loser results are not real life. We know this because when the show’s over, the contestants regain weight! We see people on television who lose 100s of pounds in an hour, and we get pissed off for not dropping 5 pounds after a single workout.

We compare our every day journey to someone else’s hilight reel, or before and after photos. When you see before and after photos, look at the time stamp. Typically months, years pass between the photos. You know what that person did on the days between the before and after, they had to live their life, and do the work.

When I work with clients, the first thing we decide on is a protocol they can stick with.

I have clients who elect no flour no sugar. When they have a specific reason compelling them to follow that protocol, we go with it.

For example, my mother has epilepsy and finds that eliminating sugar from her diet has stopped her migraine headaches. She has no desires to overeat sugar because (for her) she sees the connection between eating sugar and a negative result in her life.

I have clients that do intuitive eating, and simply understand that having the accountability of a coach, and writing down what they eat helps them make healthier choices.

I have clients who do flexible dieting, and track macros so they can include foods they want.

When I notice that I client thinks they want to follow a specific protocol, but they aren’t following it, we make a change.

I think this is important to mention because I’ve worked with a lot of people who are in the cycle of keeping the reigns super tight (eating very low calories, eating very restrictive foods, eat only from a food list) and then have all-out binges.

This was something I struggled with myself for years! I kept thinking the paleo diet and elimination diets were the cure-all because I’d read so many great things about them, but I would try them, and have such terrible cravings for all the things I wasn’t “supposed to have” and so I would literally binge my face off. I was so embarrassed and ashamed, and created a very untrusting relationship with myself and food.

I share this because I’ve had clients come to me who are exactly in the same space. Their intentions are right, but their plan isn’t working for them.

When we reintroduce foods that were previously off-limits then there is always a huge sigh of relief. Making healthy choices that work for you is an incredible freedom because it puts YOU in the driver’s seat.

When you’re following a protocol that someone hands you because it worked for them– that’s great for them, but every body is different.

So before you sign up for the next juice fast, cleanse, IF-a-thon, ask yourself, “is this a long-term sustainable plan I can live with for the rest of my life?” If not, then move along.

Having a sustainable plan makes this process fun and enjoyable. You don’t have to be extreme to get results; you only have to be consistent.

If you are struggling with extremism, and are interested in looking at a new approach, click here to schedule a solution session with me.

#1 Mistake People Make on Weight Loss

Head’s up- this is the first of a 3-part series on weight loss.

I failed at weight loss many times.

I’ve lost 80 pounds, but I didn’t lose it overnight.

I made many mistakes along the way, but here’s the good news: I got to my goal anyway.

So here is #1 mistake I see people make when they are trying to lose weight…

Their WHY isn’t bigger than their WANT

Every time I’ve been serious about losing weight and I’ve made massive progress it’s happened because I’ve been all-in, 100% committed to the goal: I had a HUGE WHY!

In my coaching practice I talk with clients a lot about commitment because there is a HUGE difference between wanting something and committing to it.

If I want something, that’s great! I wanted to be thin when I was over 200 pounds. But wanting is just a thought, just an idea.

Commitment is different. Commitment means that I am taking consistent action to get to my goal even when...

Even When… It’s cold outside and I don’t want to stay in bed instead of workout;

Even When… I went away for the weekend and didn’t feel like going to the grocery store to have healthy food at home;

Even When… My boss yells at me;

Even When… I’m stressed out;

Even When… I have a fight with a family member;

Even When… I’m bloated…

You see where I’m going here. Even When is EVERY EXCUSE we give ourselves to let ourself off the hook to our commitment.

So how do you know you’ve got a strong enough commitment? How do you know that you are committed and don’t just want something?

You know you are committed when your WHY is bigger than your WANT!

You have to have a BIG WHY because I’ll be honest– there are days when you will WANT:

  • All the Chips
  • All the Ice Cream
  • All the Donuts
  • To eat because it’s your period
  • Stress Eat
  • Emotionally Eating
  • Eat all the things and all the flavors, textures, etc.

You have to be willing to allow the WANT urges.

You have to have a compelling reason to keep you focused even when the going gets tough.

When I was at various stages of my weight loss journey I envisioned different events to stay focused on my goal:

  • An image of myself crossing a finish line ;
  • An image of me running on the beach in a bikini;
  • An image of being on a stage, posing in a bikini competition.

All of these events required commitment.

So before you get started, truly ask yourself why this all matters? Why do you want to lose weight? And are you willing to allow all of the urges to come up and be there?

Are you willing to be committed even when?

What is your BIG WHY?

If you are, and you are ready to take this work to the next level, you can book a mini-session with me here: Wendy Pardue Solution Session

Free Food Isn’t Free

So let me guess, you’re at a conference, a family event, a church event, or a friend’s party… whatever. There is food, and the food is free!!!!

This can be a huge problem for people on a weight loss journey because for so many of us, when food is free, it’s suddenly interesting. You can have the best program in the world, but then… enter free food, and suddenly all of the thoughts come in… just this once… it’s free!… I don’t have this every day, so I can make an exception… yadda, yadda, yadda.

If you are eating food because it’s free, then I want you to think of it this way. What if I came up to you at the beginning of a 3 day conference, and asked you what your intention was for the event? You’d probably tell me that you’d want to learn something new, expand your network, or something else relevant to your job. You probably wouldn’t say that your goal would be to eat your face off and expand your waistline, or to eat so much that you have to wear your stretchy pants on the way home.

However, we act like because the food is out there we have no choice, our hands are tied, and so we may as well dive in– everyone else is doing it, right?

Let me tell you that there is another choice, and if you do what everyone else is doing, you will also share in their results (stretchy pants for the ride home). So here is your new approach…

Make the best choice in every situation. Perfection is never a requirement to get results, but progress is. What if instead of thinking you had to be perfect, you took a moment to pause– look at all of the options, and then made the best decision of what was available

Balance your plate with splurges and saves. Look at you plate and consider the balance of splurges vs. saves. You’ve surveyed the area and it looks like there are some veggies and chicken (saves) you can have for dinner, but there is a piece of chocolate cake (splurge) that looks amazing. Or maybe the dinner is lasagna (splurge) and you’d rather have a small portion of that with some salad (save) to have a balanced meal. Maybe you see cake too, but you are willing to have just a bite (save) instead of a whole piece (splurge). See what I mean– just balance it out.

Be willing to throw it away. Maybe you added food to your plate and then saw that healthier options were available at the end of the buffet. What do you do? So many people struggle with throwing food away, particularly when they’ve been raised with a “clean plate club” mentality, or were told that starving children wish they had food. But here’s the thing– you are either going to waste that food on your body or waste it in the trash. If you waste it in the trash, you are going to save yourself a whole lot of time.

3 Lessons I Learned From Taking Massive Action

Those of you who’ve followed my journey the past month know that I just achieved a
big goal: I hit my goal weight! I did this by showing up every day until I got
the exact result I was looking for. I set my sights on 123.4 from Day 1, and on
Day 30 I weighed in at exactly that number. Since many people reached out to me
along the way in my journey to find out what I was doing, I thought it would be
valuable to share exactly what I did that made this totally effective.

1.       Set a VERY SPECIFIC GOAL.

Creating a specific goal is important because it forces our minds to focus exactly on
what we want, and what we must do to solve the problem. A generic goal like “I
want to lose weight” is a good place to start, but knowing you want to lose exactly
6.4 or 64 pounds is great because then you have to start thinking of a strategy
to get there.

2.       Dismiss Conflicting Thoughts

This may sound quite simple, but think about it… How many times have you set a big goal for yourself only to give up on it two days later? You create a New Year’s resolution to not eat cake, and then a week later, it’s someone’s birthday so you throw in the towel. What happened? You had a thought in conflict with your goal. Maybe it was something like:

“Just this once”

“I don’t want to miss out”

“They’ll think I’m weird if I don’t eat cake” And that thought led to feeling uncomfortable (deprived, insecure). And to avoid that feeling, you ate the cake. Then after eating the cake you felt like you failed, so you quit. Slippery slope. You may have thought it was just a simple action, but it started with a thought.

Through the month of March– every time I had a thought about eating when I wasn’t hungry or eating to overcome an emotional situation, I paused. I knew that it wouldn’t serve me, and I decided to create a new thought.

3.        Follow the plan that supports your intention.

A lot of times we think weight loss is this elusive mystery that we need to figure out. The truth is most people know HOW to lose weight, they simply choose not to take weight loss producing actions because of their thinking. They see an ad for someone dropping 10 pounds in a week on a keto diet, and then suddenly start questioning their own knowledge.

With weight loss in particular, we get into the habit of wanting results quickly, and if the result takes time, we get frustrated and quit– I knew that was something I’d done in the past. Instead, this time, I just wondered- what if I took everything I knew about weight loss, applied it, and was patient– what would happen then? And in 30 days, I had my result.

If you have other questions about my journey or starting your own journey- please comment below or reach out to me—I’d love to connect with you!

Have a great day!