Holiday Challenge Week 6

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

This is the season where we strive to do it all – give the perfect gift, bake the perfect holiday pie, eat the perfect amount without going overboard. In trying to do it all however, we can set ourselves up for a big fall.

Setbacks are bound to happen – you might not eat perfectly every day and you might not get physical activity everyday. The most important thing to know is that perfection is as mythical as the abominable snowman and a day of less-than-perfect doesn’t signal the end of your Holiday Challenge goals.

While it’s true that the road to maintaining your weight can be bumpy, especially during the holiday season it’s important to not toss in the towel, abandon your goals and reach for the closest plate of holiday goodies. Instead, use these tips from the Eat Smart, Move More… Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge to stay motivated and triumph over the setbacks that are sure to block your path to weight maintenance.

Set small, achievable goals. Anytime you feel that you’re slipping off track, think of where you started and evaluate where you are headed. Remember those goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the Holiday Challenge? Think of small steps along the way that will bring you to your big goal. Do you want to be able to walk four laps at your local track? Maybe that means you will set small step-wise goals for each week. For example: walk one lap three times this week, then increase to two laps three times next week, and so on, to get you to four full laps.

Keep it in perspective. Setbacks are bound to happen – skipping a workout or indulging in an extra holiday treat does not spell failure. When slip-ups occur, don’t think of it as a catastrophe. Be gentle with yourself, practice self-forgiveness and remember that each day is a chance for you to get back on track.

Learn from your setbacks. Instead of criticizing yourself when small setbacks occur, use them as learning experiences. Think about what caused you to trip-up. Once you’ve clearly identified your setback, list out possible solutions to help you overcome or avoid this obstacle in the future. If faced with the same scenario again, try out one of your solutions. If that solution doesn’t work for you, try the next. The important thing is to find a strategy for overcoming setbacks that meets your needs.

Look on the bright side. Remember how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go. Remain optimistic, self-assured and above all be your own cheerleader. It takes a lot of determination and willpower to accomplish what you have during the holiday season. Be proud of your accomplishments! Look at your setbacks to weight maintenance as opportunities to recharge your motivation and recommit to your program. Also, keep in mind that tomorrow is a new day and you can pick up right where you left off.

For more information or to join the Eat Smart, Move More…Maintain, don’t gain! Holiday Challenge, visit

Eleanor Summers
Extension Agent
Family & Consumer Sciences