by Christine on October 19th, 2010
It’s not too early to start planning ahead for the holidays. Halloween is only a week away, and before you know it Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year will be on us. Here are some helpful tips for getting through the holidays:
- Put gym time on your schedule NOW. As your schedule starts filling up, work around the gym time you’ve already set out for yourself. Be realistic; five days a week of gym time might be nice, but it’s probably not very realistic. Try to put at least two days of gym time on your calendar, and make it a priority.
- It’s more important than ever to track your food during the holidays. It’s so easy to steal a candy here, a cookie there, a glass of wine while cooking…and them promptly forget that you ever consumed those calories. Track your food, writing everything down several times a day if you need to, in order to remember everything you ate. Don’t forget that there are tons of calories in liquids; that eggnog is going to destroy your diet!
- Look up the calories before you eat that food. That way you can decide just how much of that dish you want to indulge in. Indulge only in the foods that you really love.
- Limit your alcohol. If you’re going to drink, decide ahead of time how many calories you have to spend on alcohol and decide how many glasses of wine you will allow yourself to have. Remember that “clear” alcohols (vodka, gin) have fewer calories than “dark” alcohols (brandy, sherry, whiskey).
- Add 10 minutes of cardio to your daily routine, if possible. This will help counteract some of the damage done during holiday eating.
- Keep an emergency snack on hand, such as a baggie of carrots or (my personal favorite) a 100-calorie pack of almonds.
- Drink lots of water! Chug a big glass of water before you sit down to a big meal.
- Buy a holiday outfit that you are dying to fit into. Hang it prominently in your bedroom, so every morning you wake up you will be reminded of your weight-loss goal.
- Cut back on the little things that pad your calories today, such as creamers in your coffee, soda, donuts, etc. If you cut these items out now, they’ll leave a little extra wiggle room in your diet in the next few months. You can add these things back in January, if you still want them then.
- Chew gum when you get a craving for unhealthy food.
- Figure out how much candy you want to allow yourself to eat. Assume that each of those halloween-sized chocolate candies are about 70 calories. Put pre-portioned candies into a ziplock bag and in a safe spot in the house. Label the ziplock bag for “Monday,” “Tuesday,” “Wednesday,” etc. to remind yourself that you only get one or two per day! When your kids come home with bags of candy in hand, don’t reach for THEIR candy; after all, you have your own candy set aside for yourself.
- This same gameplan can be used in the workplace. If you bring pre-portioned snacks into work and keep it at your desk, you will be better able to say no to snacks left out in the cafeteria.
- Buy candy that you DISLIKE as a treat to pass out to the kids. That way, if you have leftovers, you’ll be less likely to eat the rest of the bag of candy.
- Give the candy away. Give all your leftover candy away. Also, if your kids come home with a giant bag of Halloween candy–it’s not healthy for them to eat that whole bag. Have them pick out a limited number of their favorite candies, then give the rest away to a food bank or shelter, etc.
- At your big family dinner, wear clothing that are much too tight (especially tight “under-garments,” women!). Corseting yourself will help to keep you from eating too much on the big day.
- Feel free to enjoy the portions of your meal that are healthy, such as a large salad and white turkey meat, green beans, corn, and other vegetables. Take extra large portions of those, but bypass the stuffing, baked yams, potato salad, rolls, pies, cookies, and other deserts. If you are cooking, replace those typical “unhealthy” foods with healthy alternatives, such as replacing potato salad with a regular tossed green salad!
- If you are a guest at someone else’s table for Thanksgiving, consider eating a small healthy meal before you arrive for dinner. A small meal filled with veggies will keep you from feeling ravenous at the dinner table.
- No second servings.
- Bring a dish to share! Make something healthy, that’s “safe” for you to eat. I’m sure the cook will appreciate you contributing to her party!
- Practice saying “no” to people who offer you food. These are “food pushers.” Practice saying “no” with your spouse ahead of time. It sounds silly, but practicing a few sample scenarios out loud with someone will help you when the real-life situations occur.
- Pre-plan a healthy snack for when you’re watching the annual football game. If you want Thanksgiving Dinner leftovers, decide ahead of time how much of each type of food you want to consume during this football snacking time.
- If you are cooking dinner, make sure you buy disposable plastic tubs so you can give leftover food away.
- Focus on family. Keep yourself busy with mingling with your family and playing with your kids. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are all about–the people, not the food?
- Recycle food gifts that you receive from other people.
- Don’t be afraid of throwing food out, including Christmas cookie gifts from others. (They’ll never know.)
- Pick out (or decorate) a special box or tin for some of your favorite Christmas cookies. After you calculate how many calories are in your favorite cookies, place a few of your most favorite in your special box. Put the box in a special place (on top of the fridge, perhaps). This is your allotment for the entire Christmas season. When the cookies are gone, you can’t go back for more. These are YOUR cookies; do not share them with anyone else.
- Create holiday traditions that don’t involve eating. For instance, last year I made a new tradition of making paper snowflakes and decorating them with glitter. It took all evening–time I normally would have spent baking and eating!
- At your holiday office party, offer to help out organizing. The more time you are on your feet greeting people and setting up the venue, the less time you will be munching on the food and drinking the alcohol.
- Enjoy family time by getting out and doing something active as a family. The holidays are a great time to enjoy ice skating, snow shoeing, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, sledding/tobogganing, building a snowman, having a snowball fight, etc.
- Pre-plan alcohol limits before you leave for the party! Figure out how much you want to drink, how many calories you can afford in your diet. Then plan your food and eating around your alcohol limits. This will help you keep your calories in check.
- Ask for low-calorie mixers, such as rum + diet coke, or vodka + diet sprite, vodka + crystal lite.
- Sit far away from the food, far away from the kitchen. If you’re standing in front of the food, you’re going to end up grazing on food, so just walk away from it and get the party going in a room that doesn’t have food in it.
- Dance your ass off. It burns loads of calories, so shake your thang!
- Wear a white shirt, that you don’t want to spill food on. If you’re worried about spillage, you’ll be less likely to eat food that will spill and spoil.