by Judy Weitzman, Diet Coach
What is your eating strategy for the holidays? Do you fear packing on the pounds this holiday season?
The fancy drinks, yummy appetizers and insanely delicious desserts are everywhere this time of year.
Between food at the office, parties, family gatherings and food given as gifts, it is not a surprise that many people gain five to ten pounds in December.
The tips listed below will help you get ahead of the curve when it is time to make your New Year’s resolutions for 2015.
Even though the emphasis is on preparing the food and creating fun drinks, it is best to redirect the focus. The mantra to remember is: “It is about the people, not the food!”
Here are Ten Tips to Help You Eat Healthier throughout the Holiday Season:
First, and foremost this is your best tool for successfully eating less. Many studies have proven that you will eat more mindfully when you write down what you eat.
You can even take your diary up a notch by writing down how you are feeling when you eat. This will help you to identify if you are eating when you are hungry, or if you are eating for emotional reasons.
This might seem silly but it is a great way to change the behavior of tasting and licking spoons while cooking. You can use a surgical mask or tie a bandana over your mouth.
You might look like you are ready to rob a bank but in reality it will make you more aware of how often mindless eating happens while cooking and baking.
By pre-planning what you are going to eat each day, you have more control over the end result. When you don’t have a plan for your day, the day runs you and that is when you can get into trouble.
After you go to the grocery store allow an hour or two to prep your foods. By having your veggies and fruit pre-cut, clean and ready to eat, it makes healthy snacks as easy to grab as processed treats.
Some folks like to “bank” their calories and save up for the big feast. Whether it is Thanksgiving day or the day of a special holiday party, please don’t starve in anticipation of the big event.
When you skip meals, you become very hungry and any self-control you might have had, has flown out the window. Start your day with a workout, then eat a lean breakfast and lunch.
When you are ready to go, make a small snack to take the edge off of your hunger. Lean protein is a great choice because it is very filling.
This will keep you from eating every appetizer and chip that is out before the food is served. Now it will be easier to eat mindfully.
During the holiday season, the bar is busier than ever. Fancy drinks, like eggnog and cider, can add way too many calories to your day.
If you cherish these annual traditions, have a small amount so you don’t feel deprived. Better alternatives for festive drinks that don’t pack as many calories would be vodka, bourbon, and scotch on the rocks. Or mix the booze with club soda or water for a low calorie drink.
You can also enjoy champagne or wine at only twenty calories per ounce. Be sure to have a designated driver is you plan on having more than one cocktail.
Keep in mind that the calories add up from the cocktails, but that is only one part of the problem. The bigger issue is the lack of willpower that happens alcohol is consumed. Your best bet is to only have one or two cocktails per evening.
A taste or two will make all the difference. There are so many amazing traditional foods that we enjoy this time of year. To savor something, you do not need to eat a lot of it.
In a similar situation, let’s say you are out to dinner and they serve dessert. Here is what happens when they serve it you: you take the first bite and think how amazing it tastes and the same holds true with the second bite. Then you re-engage in conversation and the next thing you know, you look down and there isn’t any dessert left.
Once you start talking you are eating mindlessly and not even enjoying remaining bites. So stop wasting the calories and only take the bites that you will savor. A bite or two will do. This works in all situations.
Bring something that you can enjoy and still adhere to your healthy eating plan not matter what your hostess has on the menu.
Offer to bring crudités or fruit skewers so you have healthy options. This will give you an alternative to the temptations of chips, cheeses and sweets that are calling your name.
Make workout dates with friends. It is harder to blow off your workout when you have a friend waiting for you at the gym.
Schedule trainers and exercise classes throughout the holidays. Make exercise a priority.
Put the appointments on your calendar like you would a business appointment so you are less likely to cancel.
By drinking two 8-ounce cups of water before each meal you will eat less. It gives you a false full.
Your daily goal should be at least eight 8-ounce glasses per day. By having two before each meal you only have to have two more to drink. Easy peasy!!
Wear clothes that are tighter around the middle when you are going to a party or out to dinner. This tip is so easy and takes no willpower.
Wearing tight jeans or any clothing that fits snug around the waist and abdomen will make it difficult to overeat.
After all, no one wants their waistband digging into them.
You know that utensil we use, called the forefinger and thumb? It is so easy to pick up a chip, appetizer, cookie, you name it … it makes it too easy to eat mindlessly. So please retire that utensil.
Only eat when you are sitting down with a plate, fork and knife. This will ensure that the food you eat registers in your brain and you will feel more satisfied and won’t end up with a “food hangover” the next day.
Please eat mindfully this holiday season. Focus on the people, not the food and make an effort to talk to everyone.
It is not polite to talk with your mouth full so by chatting up your friends and family, you will eat less.
Wishing all of you a happy holiday season filled with good times, good health, and lots of laughter and love!
(published November 27, 2014)
Judy Weitzman, known as “Diet Coach Judy,” has experience in the weight loss industry that spans more than 30 years. She is the author of How to Eat When Life Gets in the Way. Besides her professional experience, she lost 50 pounds nearly 30 years ago and has maintained her lower weight. Judy has successfully helped her clients lose weight and keep it off by helping them change their behaviors. Each program is individualized and the daily support she offers helps ensure her clients’ success. To learn more about Judy, visit her website at www.dietcoachjudy.com.