Filed Under Diet, Fitness, Weight Loss |
Weight Management Tips for the Holidays and Beyond
Is it possible to maintain your weight or even lose weight over the holidays? Yes it is. It’s easy if you have a game plan. Next week is Thanksgiving, the first big “food” holiday. There will be plenty of temptation around with family gatherings, office potlucks, parties, feasts, nights out, etc. I hope this post, which was a request from a reader, provides you with some tips and strategies that will help you stay focused through the holiday season and beyond.
Stay home to avoid temptation. Just kidding! This isn’t a real option. Life is meant to be enjoyed and shared with those who matter most to you.
2. BYOD (Bring Your Own Dish)
Volunteer to cook a dish that you know you can eat and stay on track. A colorful salad would be perfect, but watch out for the salad dressing for fat and caloric content. I love Miso Salad Dressing. It’s lowfat (18% calores from fat) and delicious too. Fill your plate with the salad then eat small tasting samples of the other stuff you want.
3. HEAVY SNACK
If you don’t want to BYOD, try eating a substantial snack (between 150-200 calories) before attending the event. That could be one egg scrambled with one tsp of Earth Balance buttery spread (no trans fat) and a slice of whole grain toast, a fiber bar (170 calories) or half of a peanut butter sandwich (200 calories). Once you get to the party, NIBBLE on what you want to eat, like the option above. Needless to say, this method will not work if you go to the party and eat more than nibbles.
4. EAT SLOWLY AND UTILIZE THE HUNGER SCALE
Savor each bite, paying careful attention to the textures and flavors of your favorite foods. Studies indicate that it takes 15 minutes for your brain receptors to register that you’re full…so slow down and enjoy, you’ll eat less (see my post on The Hunger Scale) .
5. REDUCE/ELIMINATE ALCOHOL
Ideally, alcohol should be eliminated, especially if you’ve just begun a weight loss regimen. However, being the holidays, you may want to have a drink. But try to limit yourself to just one. Alcoholic drinks are packed with calories, empty ones at that. If you’re going to consume alcohol, try having one 4-ounce glass of red wine, which has only 100 calories. Another option is having one mixed drink made with a clear-colored spirit, such as vodka with cranberry juice (165 calories per drink–100 calories for 1.5 oz of vodka + 65 calories for 4 oz of juice). You could even water down the cranberry juice to reduce the number of calories. Avoid the creamy drinks such as Kahlua or Baileys Irish Cream.
6. DRINK LOTS OF WATER
Keep your body hydrated and you’ll eat less. Studies indicate that people who drink 8 glasses of water a day consume 200 less calories. If plain water bores you, try a sparkling mineral water with a twist of lemon or lime.
7. KEEP YOUR BODY MOVING
Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car in the far corner of the parking lot, take a walk, find something to increase your physical activity. Whatever activity you can squeeze in will help tremendously. You will be surprised how 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there add up. What’s important is the accumulative activity for the day.
8. TRACK YOUR WEIGHT FREQUENTLY
I’m not suggesting that you have an unhealthy obsession with the number of your scale, but weighing yourself daily is a way to stay motivated when you see even small increments of weight coming off (See my post on Monitoring Your Weight Loss with a Digital Scale.) Also, by monitoring your weight often, you’ll be able to address any weight gain that goes above your buffer zone before it turns into a 30 pound weight gain.
9. INSTANT RECALL (IMPORTANT!)
Find a old picture of yourself that you like. If you don’t have one, find a picture of someone else that you admire and burn this image into your brain. When temptation strikes, recall this image and recite your personal mantra.
10. ADOPT A PERSONAL MANTRA (IMPORTANT!!)
Mantras can be used for anything, even weight loss management. They are powerful words or phrases that change your beliefs, thoughts, and improve your life. They can be said silently to yourself, posted anywhere and everywhere, or spoken in front of a mirror. A weight loss mantra is beneficial because it replaces negative thoughts with positive thoughts and it also helps invoke willpower just when you need it most.
There are two differents types of mantras–affirmations and cognitive challenges.
Affirmation Mantras reminds you of why you’re putting yourself through the trials and tribulations of weight loss in the first place. Additionally, they remind you of the prize at the end of the tunnel.
Weight loss mantras used as affirmations should be stated in the present tense, such as “I fit easily into my old pair of size 8 jeans” not “I’ll wear size 8 jeans in three months.”
Some examples of dieting affirmation mantras are found below:
“I feel great, and look good. I feel powerful, healthy, and fit.”
“My clothes fit beautifully on my thinner body.”
The more effort you put into these affirmations, the less you’ll feel like going off track.
COGNITIVE CHALLENGE MANTRAS
The belief in cognitive psychology is that we unfortunately create many of our own problems by carrying rigid, untrue beliefs and thoughts. The goal in cognitive psychology is to make us stop and re-examine those thoughts and beliefs. For example:
Negative Belief: I can’t follow this new way of eating for four months. I have no will power.
Mantra: You don’t have to stick to your new way of eating for four months. You just have to stick to it for today.
When used, mantras are a powerful weight loss management tool. Mantras will help flex your willpower muscle, which will only get stronger as it’s exercised. If you happen to eat a little too much next week on Thanksgiving Day, it’s ok. You’re not a failure. Be kind to yourself. Remember one day at a time, even one meal at a time. You’ll get there. I know you can do it. Losing weight and finding yourself along the way is so worth it!!!
I hope these strategies allow you stay focused on your weight loss goal during the holiday season and beyond. Your success depends on your actions and your level of committment (see my post on Committment is Crucial to Lose Weight). I know you can do this!! You deserve it!
I wish you every success on your journey and a Happy Holiday Season!!