Okay, so let's try this again!
First, as I said, really glad to have you back, Rose! And I echo the others with saying that 3 pounds is not as bad as it could have been, so keep patting yourself on the back for not staying off the wagon.
I have the exact same pattern you do. Vacation, holiday...boom...3-5 pounds. Usually I do great for the first half, then snowball downhill. Still trying to figure out why. But I found a couple things that work for me afterward, even if I haven't figured out how to stop it yet.
First, I don't weigh myself for about a week after I've been back on plan. That way I know for sure that the weight gain is real weight and not just water or other artifacts. It also helps because I can tell myself that I am on track and heading downward, instead of, omg...look at that...I gained X and I'm still out of control.
I also try to stay on my exercise routine even if I'm eating like crap. This is hard because I feel less fit and things begin to jiggle that didn't jiggle a week ago, but I am less likely to sabotage myself if I know I've put in a lot of effort to working out. You've always seemed so athletic to me, I hope this works for you.
I also really try to replace the negative messages with positive ones. I can get really down on myself as a result of losing control. So I will say things like, "Okay, you're in your fat jeans this week, but your fat jeans are size X, and before you started this, you were squeezing into size X+1 or X+2."
Sometimes when I'm in the process of getting back on track, I'll just do maintenance calories for a couple days, or maybe cut off a hundred or two, but not go all the way down to restricting enough for a quick loss. First, it's too much of a contrast, and I'm more likely to binge on something; second, I really can't restrict too much given that I'm so short and at a normal weight now anyway. It doesn't mean that I don't want the pounds I gained to come off, but it does mean being realistic about how soon that will happen. Sometimes I tend to panic at the extra weight, restrict too far, and then I rebound, making the probem worse than it was.
Other things I do to get back on track are to go grocery shopping and get really healthy stuff...sometimes try new healthy things as a treat. And I read articles or books about health and healthy eating and fitness to get me motivated again.
This is definitely not "total failure" time, chica. There are so many shades of gray in the weight loss/health realm it's not even funny. If you make a list of things you've done well and things you want to improve on, it may help you see how much success you've had, so beware of tunnel vision on the negative side.
Okay, think that covers it. Remember, it's not a straight shot of steady improvement over time. When you drive a car, you don't hold the wheel straight all the time; you make small corrections and sometimes larger ones depending on where the road takes you. We've both had detours lately (Thanksgiving and the four days following for me
), and we're both in the driver's seat again. Here's to a great, on plan weekend!!