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Holiday weight gain is not a mandate from Santa's elves...
Although "Season's Eatings" seems a more apropos salutation this time of year, it is possible to enjoy yourself and avoid putting on surplus pounds.
The average person gains seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but you don't have to.
By becoming very aware of your own holiday indulgence tendencies, you can then create a detailed plan to support your weight management goals.
When it comes to holiday weight gain, an ounce of prevention is worth 7 pounds of New Year's-Resolution cure.
The two main strategies to use to avoid gaining extra weight over the holiday's are 1) Become Selective and, 2) Have a Plan.
These strategies have a general application as well as specific influence on challenges like parties and family get-togethers.
However great your plan is, it is less than worthless if you don't stick to it.
Be clear with your motivations to set the goal.
Consider that by adhering to 2,000 calories a day rather than 4,000, you will go a long way in avoiding the 25,000 extra calories that is seven pounds.
Creating Your Plan - The first part of your plan has to be about setting some ground rules...
  1. Eat when you are hungry, not to comfort yourself emotionally.
    Acknowledge and plan for the paradox of holiday expectations versus disappointment and loneliness as well as both the joy and conflict family reunions can bring.
    Take steps to nurture and care for yourself indefinite (and non-edible) ways.
  2. Plan as many social activities that you can that are not food oriented.
    Consider skating, sledding, caroling, or crafting.
    Winter nature walks, playing board games, and musical jam sessions are other ideas to play with.
  3. Keep your meal schedule on track.
    Even if your meals are richer than usual now and then, keep your meal times regular and you will be better off.
    Whatever you do, do not skip meals to compensate.
    This almost always backfires, producing more cravings, and lowered resistance to temptation later on.
    You will be much more successful if you eat a light and nutritious breakfast and lunch the day of a social event.
    Keep well stocked up on low-fat nutritious snacks and munchies at home.
  4. Eat slowly and savor your food.
    Bring your attention to your eating...
    become mindful.
    Pay attention to your body while you are eating.
    Notice whether you are feeling nervous or tense or thirsty.
    Determine if you are truly hungry and want to eat.
  5. The remainder of your plan is built on your choices after you engage the second strategy: Become Selective.
  6. Decide which occasions and foods are really special to you and plan those into your holiday schedule.
    Attend only the parties and eat only the foods that are most important to the tradition of the holidays.
    You can eat a handful of cocktail peanuts or chocolate chip cookies anytime, seek out the distinctive holiday treats and invest your calories for maximum pleasure.
  7. Sample, don't gorge.
    The enjoyment of tasting foods comes in the first few bites.
    Savor the flavors and the company.
    Make a two-bite rule, and if you begin to get caught up in eating, take a tour of the house, step outside for a few minutes, or strike up conversation at the opposite side of the room.
  8. Planning for Parties -In addition to the previous points, parties call for specific selections and plans.
    Revisit the strategy of deciding in advance what you will and will not eat.
    Remember not to skip meals beforehand and if possible, to eat something light and nourishing, like soup, right before the party.
    • Limit your enjoyment of alcoholic drinks.
      Not only are they calorie dense, but alcohol will also weaken your clarity and resolve to maintain your plan.
    • Position yourselfaway from the buffet table, visit with people who are not eating, and cover your plate with your napkin when you are through.
    • Fill your plate up really full of healthy foods like vegetables, salad greens, fruits and slices of lean meat.
    • Finally, be polite, not nice.
      Rehearse ahead of time how you gracefully will say "no" to offers of homemade foods you really don't want to eat.
Becoming more aware of your holiday celebration characteristics, you can create a plan that maximizes your strengths and minimizes your weaknesses.
Managing your weight during the holidays is not without hope or doomed to deprivation.
Avoiding the 'holiday seven' can be as simple as embracing these seven simple tips.
Create holiday mirth without the extra girth this year.
©2005 Karen B.
All Rights Reserved.
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