Holiday Eating Survival: Part Two

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holiday-foodIn Part One of my Holiday Eating Survival Guide, I asked what the holidays mean to you when it comes to your eating plan. How do you think about celebrating with family and friends? If you don’t have an eating plan, holiday eating can easily become “your little gift to YOU,” complete with unwanted weight gain going into the New Year.

Your holiday eating plan can begin in your closet. Subconsciously, wearing fitted clothes provides a reminder to keep from overindulging, so wearing something fitted that buttons or zips before you head out the door to celebrate is a great place to start. But I’ve got a few more tricks that you might want to consider during this season of celebration!

Holiday Eating Survival: Part Two

I don’t recommend saving up your calories to “spend them later” on all the foods that will be surrounding you during the holidays. When you practically starve yourself before a party or family get-together, you’re more likely to:

• Overindulge
• Binge
• Mindlessly consume

Instead, have a healthy light snack or “mini-meal” beforehand. This way you’re able to control what you consume because your judgment stays intact. And since you won’t be overly hungry, you won’t be so tempted by the goodies all around you. Here are some great pre-event snack ideas: 

• An apple with nut butter
• A fruit and a handful of nuts
• Veggies and hummus
• A mojo fuel bar!

Think Before You Drink

Okay, so this is a good tip any time of year – but when it comes to holiday weight gain, it’s not just about the foods you’ll be eating; it’s also about those liquid calories too. Alcohol impairs your judgment about food choices, so all those treats you would have held off on will probably make their way into your mouth after a few drinks. Limiting your alcohol consumption can help you avoid mindless eating.

Your drinking plan can include these tips:

• Drink a wine spritzer to cut the amount of wine in half
• Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
• Have a seltzer in a wine glass so it looks like alcohol

It’s Your Body Your Holiday, Your Time to Enjoy

Don’t be at the mercy of others when it comes to your holiday eating. Have an eating plan and stick to it. Your holiday eating survival depends on it.

If you’re traveling to be with those you love, pack some healthy snacks and drinks before leaving home. Here’s why:

• What you pack will likely be healthier and more nutritious
• You’ll avoid waiting in long lines in airports and/or stores
• You’ll be less likely to indulge at fast-food stops along the highway
• You’ll feel better about what you are eating and have less regrets later on

Here’s another tip:

When eating a meal, only eat what is special to the holiday or unique to the area you’re vacationing in.

Is the area you are visiting known for a special food, dish, dessert, or drink? Enjoy the experience of trying something new or different and leave the more familiar foods alone so that you don’t over eat. And when eating – remember that memories, people, places and feelings can be dangerous to your holiday eating, as well. Eating triggers like these will derail your best efforts… unless you plan ahead to:

• Know ahead of time what you’ll say to “food pushers” who put their love and nurturing into the foods they prepare for you. Be kind, but firm. Try letting them know that their food is so special you’re saving room for a taste of it later. And make it only a taste.
• If you overdo it, apply the 3 to 1 rule. For every one thing you’ve overeaten, make the next three choices healthier. One over-the-top meal can be balanced out by following up with three more healthful ones.
• When you feel you’ve really gone overboard, take a closer look at what happened to your plan and determine how to do things differently next time. Guilt does nothing positive for you (and may even encourage you to binge). Put any frustration and negative feelings behind you, move forward, and set a new goal instead.

Room for One More

Here’s one last thought: leftovers look better in the fridge than they do on your belly and thighs.

Putting these holiday eating strategies in place now will definitely help you welcome the New Year with a leaner and healthier you.

Happy Holidays!

Picture from here, with thanks.

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