The annual holiday food fight is about to begin. You know, the one where conflicted women nationwide (even worldwide) face down rich-food eating traditions.
This year, to help women understand what doesn’t work when it comes to happy holidays, the healthy-weight experts at Green Mountain at Fox Run have come up with some sure-fire tips to take the guesswork out of gaining those holiday pounds. We counter them with sensible advice for emerging from the holidays feeling great.
For Guaranteed Holiday Weight Gain…Before the Holidays
1. Diet! Diet! Diet!
Let’s face it, you expect to overeat during the holidays so why not get a jump on weight loss now? If you’re feeling truly ambitious, try dieting during the holidays, too; the deprivation will be highly effective at driving you to overeat.
Our real advice: Learn to eat what you want now in a way that leaves you feeling great. Then the holidays won’t pose any special challenge, and you can enjoy them fully.
2. Work out extra hard and long every day. You can make up for those times during the holidays when you won’t want or have the time to do anything.
Our real advice: When we overdo on exercise, we’re more likely to burn out, or worse yet, injure ourselves, and guarantee we don’t want to do anything. Slow and steady wins the race.
3. Start weighing yourself daily. You’ll be able to follow your weight up and down the scale, and cut back even more when you’ve gained an ounce. Then you’ll heighten your feelings of deprivation even more, further guaranteeing holiday overindulgence.
Our real advice: Toss out the scale now and for always. It generally doesn’t give the instant gratification we seek, and often negatively impacts our motivation to take care of ourselves.
For Guaranteed Holiday Weight Gain…During the Holidays
4. Take on as much work as you can. If you don’t do it, who will? The holidays just aren’t the holidays without all the fuss!
Our real advice: Choose wisely in what you commit to. You may end up with fewer or simpler celebrations but you’ll enjoy the holidays much more.
5. Surround yourself with family and friends who make you feel guilty about eating. It’s easier to say ‘no’ when your spouse, mother, sister, daughter, friend looks disapprovingly at you as you reach for that wonderful holiday sprinkled cookie.
Our real advice: Educate family and friends about the real impact of their attempts to control what you eat. If they won’t listen, minimize your time around them when you’re eating. It may mean missing a party or meal, but you might feel much better as a result.
6. Forget about stress management right now. You’re too busy!! Just focus on getting what you need to get done. And be sure to really have too much to do before big parties. If you can pick a fight with your spouse on the way to a party, all the better to guarantee extra emotional overeating.
Our real advice: Take care of yourself physically and mentally to help keep a balanced view on what’s important during busy times. Maybe the easiest thing to do: Get some exercise! Physical activity refreshes, relaxes, revitalizes and will add energy and enthusiasm to your life. Make it a regular part of your day during the holidays and after.
For Guaranteed Holiday Weight Gain…Before & During Parties
7. Make sure every social event revolves around food. If you throw the party yourself, make too much food, especially desserts! Set up goodies early so you can pick at them all day long while you skip meals. You do eat fewer calories that way, right?
Our real advice: Traditional foods are a big part of festivities, but holidays don’t have to be all about food. Plan fun activities such as pumpkin bowling (knock down gourd ‘pins’ with small pumpkins), a pine cone toss (count how many pine cones you can land inside a hula hoop) or just fun and refreshing walks through the woods, around the neighborhood talking to friends you pass.
8. Set a ‘hands-off’ rule for all the rich foods you’ll encounter. If you just say ‘no,’ you’ll be able to nip any weight gain in the bud!
Our real advice: When we forbid foods or label them ‘bad,’ we set ourselves up for overeating them. Again, learn to eat foods you love – even those rich in calories, fat, sugar – in a manner that makes you feel well. That way, you’ll enjoy them and, if you’re following a healthy lifestyle, you’ll enjoy a healthy weight, too.
9. Go ahead and buy all those goodies on sale in jumbo packages. They’re for your guests; they won’t create any problem for you having them around.
Our real advice: Good intentions aside, mere exposure to foods often sets us up for wanting to at least taste it, especially if we’ve got the idea we shouldn’t. Help yourself by buying only as much as you really need, and even then, it might help to keep goodies tucked out of sight in the pantry until party time.
10. Bank calories whenever possible. Skip breakfast and lunch to make sure you’ll overeat at the party.
Our real advice: Feeding yourself well all the time leaves you better nourished and able to choose wisely whether at parties or the food court at the mall.