9 Tips for Keeping Your Diet Intact Through the Holidays - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Week 36

9 Tips for Keeping Your Diet Intact Through the Holidays

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By Lisa Spodak (ResultsNotTypical@worldnow.com)
Provided by WorldNow

Week 36 Weigh In:

Change this week:  -2 lbs.
Change overall:  -61 lbs.

This is a scary time of the year - and I don't mean just because Halloween is two days away!

After Halloween, there's Thanksgiving... and then all sorts of parties in December for Christmas and Hanukkah... and then New Year's.  It's like an obstacle course and all that's at the other end is cold and depressing January when all I want to do is curl up on the couch with grilled cheese sandwiches and hot chocolate and never think about venturing out to go to the gym.

So, how to get through?

My strategy for getting through the holidays is two-fold: 

1) Cut myself a little slack and give myself permission to indulge a bit

2) Taking #1 into account, make the best day-to-day and meal-to-meal and party-to-party decisions I can.

Permission to Indulge

As I've said before in a lot of different ways, for this diet to work for me, it has to be more than just rules and counting calories - it has to be a permanent lifestyle change.  Otherwise, once I hit my goal, I'll just gain everything back. 

That being said, while I'm all for making changes and making sacrifices, I'm not really willing to give up anything entirely.  And that includes some chocolate for Halloween, pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, and fried goat cheese at the company party.

So where to draw the line?

For one thing, I'm marking in my calendar right now when it ends!  Come January 5, no matter what my habits have been, no matter what I've gained or lost, the holidays are over and I'm back on track.

I'm also reminding myself that while I'm waxing poetic about the holidays and deciding which indulgences are "worth it," my body is oblivious to the whole thing and couldn't care less whether it is October 31st or November 27th or December 31st . A calorie is a calorie and I have to learn to accept the consequences of my decisions.  Luckily, in this situation, no consequences are irreversible!  It's just changing the length of time until I ultimately get to my goal.

Lessening the Impact

So, what are some tricks to making healthier choices easier through the holidays?

  1. I turned to my friend Laura again and she shared her motto: Just Have a Bite! I think it's a sound one - in any given situation, identify what you really want and have a bite. Just one bite. And enjoy the heck out of it!
  2. Don't go to a party hungry! Just because a party will have food, doesn't mean you have to plan on eating a lot of it. Have a meal and lots of water at home before you go. That way hunger won't be your driving force and you can make calculated decisions about what you want to sample.
  3. If it's a buffet or there's a food table, only take one item each trip you make. Force yourself to take those few extra steps for each treat. If you only take one thing each trip, you'll also be more aware of just how much you're taking. 
  4. Use the smallest plate possible. A smaller plate for your food will make it look like you've got more there.
  5. If it's a sit-down meal, focus on portion size. Have a little bit of everything, but, just a little bit. Focus on salad and vegetables rather than creamy sides or main dishes with lots of fat or rich sauces.
  6. Offer to bring something and make sure your dish is healthy - then you'll have at least one thing you know you can eat!
  7. If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages during the holidays, alternate alcoholic drinks with seltzer or water or diet soda to cut down on your calorie intake.
  8. Up your exercise. The underlying math of just about any weight loss effort depends on "calories in" versus "calories burned." If you're upping your calories, up your exercise to match.
  9. Resist the urge to overdo your efforts in between parties. Starving yourself during the day and overeating at night isn't doing you any good - accept that you won't necessarily be sticking within your normal daily limits and make the healthiest, but not necessarily the most extreme choices, you can.
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