November 22, 2012
Holiday Season How-Tos

Before you read this, check your calendar. Are your November and December filled with Holiday social gatherings, parties and events? Chances are yes. And this can seem daunting- especially when you are trying to lose (or maintain, not gain) weight. Try these helpful hints and find yourself still fitting into your pre-Holiday clothes come January!

1. Take it one week at a time: I’m a firm believer (like Dr. Mark Dedomenico) that anyone can do anything for one week. Just seven days. This is in part because 7 days is a small, but significant, period of time. So if we divide up the next two months into 8 separate weeks, we can plan for each one individually. And by doing so, we can tackle the holidays slowly but surely.

a. Plan ahead for your events: Then take a step back and decide which will be the most challenging in terms of sticking with your healthful and balanced meal plan. Then consider the foods/drinks available at those events, and make a plan.

i. For example... Tuesday is Holiday party at work, Thursday is Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Thanksgiving dinner is the more challenging of the two, so I’m going to plan ahead most for that night. Of all the “off plan foods”, the glass of wine and slice of pumpkin pie are my 2 favorites. So my plan is... to pass on the stuffing and yam puffs, fill up on lean turkey and veggies, and have a slice of pie and glass of wine as dessert.  Make sense? I’ve picked my favorites and I’m planning around them. But not indulging in all the sides likely saves me hundreds of extra calories.

2. Come prepared to events:  Chances are your friends and family enjoy some less-than-healthful holiday fare on occasion. So chances are these foods will be around at holiday gatherings.  In your weight loss journey, you’ve learned that it can be very helpful to say no to sweets & treats if you are physically not hungry- that is after all half the battle.  So bet on your friends/family to not provide balanced snacks like veggies & hummus or lean meat and low-fat cheese trays.  And have a balanced snack of protein and/or heart-healthy fat before you go to any gathering so you’re satiated and set up for success physically. Again, at least it helps get us halfway there to following our balanced meal plan, right?

3. Be the prepared one at events:  While you’re at it, why not offer to bring a healthful snack or side to the event?  Sure you can have your protein shake before you go. But maybe your friends are also looking to avoid holiday weight gain, but weren’t as savvy as you and came hungry? Having a heart-healthy fat and protein snack to share is a way to help others and yourself!

a. Other fun snacks to share...

i. Veggies and Greek-yogurt flavored dip (like Trader Joe’s Spinach & Kale or Mediterranean varieties)
ii. Mixed greens with berries, toasted nuts, diced chicken and lite blue (or feta or brie) cheese-   makes a beautiful salad!
iii. Sliced fruit and toasted pecans, hazelnuts or walnuts
iv. Fruit (like pears, peaches or apples) dusted with cinnamon and baked with chopped nuts
v. Egg whites, hardboiled & yolks removed, filled with hummus

With tips like these, and the mindfulness to plan ahead for the holidays, you can absolutely maintain or even lose weight this year! Imagine how great you will feel come January when you do!

Written by Erika Brown

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