Tonight was my turn to give the program for my diet group, TOPS. I mixed pieces of things I found on the Internet and came up with these 8 helpful tips. I hope you find them helpful as well as you attend your holiday functions.
1. Stay in Control in Advance
Planning pays off during party season. If you have a get-together or two, be extra careful about making healthier choices and keeping an eye on portions all week long.
Focus on weight maintenance vs. weight loss during the holidays. If you are currently overweight and want to lose weight, this is not the time to do it. Dont set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.
Be physically active every day. Often, our busy holiday schedules (or lack of structured schedules) bump us off our exercise routines. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories from holiday eating.
2. Graze Before You Go
Never -- ever! -- go to a party hungry! Eat a light snack before going to the party. It is not a good idea to arrive at a party famished. Not only are you more likely to overeat, but you are also less likely to resist the temptation of eating the higher fat and higher calorie foods. Try eating a piece of fruit, a small carton of yogurt, or a string cheese before you go.
3. Remove Yourself from Temptation
Don't stand or sit near the buffet! ... A party is for mingling and you certainly can't do that if you're glued to the spot you secured right there next to the pigs in the blanket.
Take steps to avoid recreational eating. While some foods are more calorie-dense than others, no food will make you gain weight unless you eat too much of it.
To avoid recreational eating, consciously make one plate of the foods you really want. Eat it slowly--enjoying and savoring every tasty bite. Then, when youre done, pop a mint or stick of gum in your mouth, get a tall glass of water and sip on it throughout the night, or position yourself away from the buffet table or food trays to keep yourself from overeating.
4. What are you bringing?
Reduce the fat in holiday recipes. There are plenty of low fat and low calorie substitutes that are amazingly tasty. Try using applesauce in place of oil in your favorite holiday breads; use egg substitutes in place of whole eggs; try plain nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream. Magazines are full of reduced calorie and reduced fat holiday recipes. Give them a try, and share your cooking creations with friends and family.
5. Dress the Part
Dont show up wearing your most comfortable stretch pants. A tightly-fitted skirt or pants, or moving down your belt a notch or two will help keep your mind focused on not needing the next size bigger by the time you leave the party.
A constricting fit makes over-eating virtually impossible.
6. Choose your beverages wisely.
Alcohol is high in calories. Liquors, sweet wines and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. By contrast, water and diet sodas are calorie-free. Limit your intake to 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks per occasion. And, watch out for calories in soda, fruit punch, and egg nog as well.
7. Overindulging vs. Oversocializing
Sure, you hear people say "I'm about to pop!" when they've over-eaten, but when have you ever heard anyone say, "I've spoken to too many people!"?
Holidays are a time to reunite with good friends and family, to share laughter and cheer, to celebrate and to give thanks. Focus more on these other holiday pleasures, in addition to the tastes of holiday foods. The important thing to remember is balance and moderation.
8. It's Not Over!
One slip up at a party -- or two ... or three ... (you get the picture?) -- doesn't ruin your weight loss efforts forever! Simply start over the next day and re-dedicate yourself to sticking to your healthier ways. It takes days and days of overeating to gain weight. If you over-indulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual eating plan the next day without guilt or despair.