10 Tips for Staying on Track with your Diet During the Holidays
R. Terry Raphael, BS, LNC, Regional Nutritional Director, Quick Weight Loss Centers, LLC
The holidays are upon us, and now more than ever is the time to set up your plan to stay on track with your diet during the Holidays. Want to start the New Year looking and feeling fantastic? Want to get a jump start on your best year ever for healthy eating and lifestyle? Want to get back into those smaller sizes and feel and look younger? Here are some tips for making this an easy and fun time of year and not blowing your diet!
1. HAVE FUN with your social calendar! Plan on attending events and seeing and talking with people you haven’t had time to be with all year. Focus on the people, not the food. Get out of the house!
2. GO SHOPPING for a special clothing item which will remind you of your weight loss goal. Something special, something new, something tight! Spend time shopping for the clothes that you will feel best in, rather than planning menus. Your clothes should be comfortable but fitted, especially in the stomach and waist areas – this will remind you of your focus and will assist you in not overeating during these occasions. Tight pants with an over size blouse are a great choice for the assertive dieter.
3. DRINK WATER throughout the day. During the winter months, we drink more hot beverages like coffee and hot tea, and they can dehydrate us. Along with the benefits of keeping us hydrated and helping our skin, water affects our appetite. When we’re hungry, often times we are actually thirsty. We then end up eating when we should be drinking. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Water hydrates your system, helps clarify your skin, assists with digestion, assists with elimination of waste, and helps reduce stress. Water is the best choice at a social event – have it with a twist of lemon or lime, and no one will ever know you are not drinking alcohol!
4. EAT before you go. Eat breakfast, eat lunch, and eat snacks before you go to your event. Since you never know what will be served, never go hungry to an event. This makes it easier to stay in control.
5. DELAY EATING for the first two hours at a buffet-style social occasion. Instead, get a non-alcoholic drink (tonic and lime, diet coke with a twist of lemon, water with lemon), hold onto it, and circulate through the party, greeting and talking and mixing with the people. Tell yourself, I’ll have whatever I really want after the two hours. Give yourself permission to relax!
6. KEEP YOUR HANDS FULL of anything but food. Non-alcoholic drinks are great. Gifts to distribute, a cocktail purse, anything but food! Better yet, take to the dance floor and party!
7. Get the SMALLEST PLATE POSSIBLE before you start through the buffet. Load that little plate with vegetables and fruits. You will find that the highest caloric items are generally already gone (good!) after the first two hours (along with a long line of people!) and you may also find that your desire for food has diminished.
8. Follow the TWO BITE rule. When faced with an item of food that you MUST have, but that does not fit into your dietary program, take TWO BITES only. These bites should be a normal size! Savor the first bite for its flavor, texture, smell and ambiance. Follow with the second bite for total satisfaction, and move on to a non-food activity. Dolly Parton, when asked how she kept her fantastic figure in her whirlwind world, once commented that she ate anything she wanted, anything, but only TWO BITES. Two bites of something special will not blow your diet and you will be happy you stayed on track.
9. DON’T TALK ABOUT DIETING with your casual acquaintances. No one really wants to hear about it during the holidays, and you may just prompt a “feeder” to start pressuring you to eat. Know your own game plan, always have an answer (“thank you, maybe later” works great), and believe in yourself. Every better choice is a celebration of your journey toward healthful living!
10. GET SUPPORT: if you have a supportive family or are part of a structured program, this is the time to get support. Visit your center frequently during this time and use their expertise to work your way through the holiday challenges. You are not alone!
And this may be the most important tip of all: take time for you!
Wind down and relax: a warm bubble bath after the kids are in bed, a good book while lying in bed, or a soothing glass of hot herbal tea with lemon can all contribute to an increased sense of well-being. You deserve to pamper yourself and enjoy the holidays with all of the people, places and good times that come with the holidays. So try something different this holiday season. Take care of yourself and the weight will take care of itself. Happy Holidays!
PS: Don’t forget to ask for gift certificates for new clothes from all of your family members. After all, next year you are going to need lots of new clothes for the new you!
R. Terry Raphael graduated from Cornell University and has been licensed through the Florida Board of Medicine in Nutrition since 1989. She is the Regional Nutritional Director for Quick Weight Loss Centers LLC and is also a diabetes educator. She is affiliated with the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE), Member of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Alumni of Cornell University. Over the span of her career Terry has worked in all aspects of nutritional and medical weight loss. You can learn more about the Quick Weight Loss Program philosophy by going to preview.quickweightloss.net.