Posts Tagged ‘christmas’
Okay… Does he (meaning Santa) really know when we’ve been eating?
Whether he does or doesn’t, nothing fills us with holiday dread the way an announcement that ‘There are only a certain number of shopping days until Christmas’ does. Yet, while most folks worry about finding enough time to make their list and check it twice, those of us with a dieter’s mentality fear that the visions of sugarplumbs might lead to the kind of overindulgence that could result in our waistlines (as opposed to the Grinch’s heart) ‘growing three sizes that day.’
But fear not, Little Elves! The holidays do not have to be a recipe for disaster when it comes to staying healthy, keeping fit and looking divine all the way through new year’s eve and beyond. In fact, if you follow these simple tips (which I’ve been asked to share again) as a general rule throughout the next several weeks, you’ll be giving yourself a gift that keeps on giving.
Curb hunger before you dash out the door
Whether attending a holiday party, a special dinner or even a cookie exchange, have a snack before you go. I’m not saying not to eat at the event. But I am saying to arrive without feeling starved so that you’re not tempted to make like a Thanksgiving Turkey and stuff yourself. Healthy pre-event snacks can include 1/4 of a cup of raw cashews or almonds, a piece of fruit or even a few slices of lowfat cheese. Munch on those just before an event and you’ll arrive with socializing on your mind instead of filling up on the wrong foods.
Indulge like a supermodel would
Successfully navigating holiday eating doesn’t mean giving into avoidance or denying yourself your true desires. It means indulging in a healthy and sane fashion. Want it? Taste it. Enjoy it. But stop there. You don’t have to have more than one cookie, more than a few chips or more than one helping of each dish during dinner. Pretend you’re being followed by TMZ cameras (and why shouldn’t you be?) and that you’re showing the world that you can eat anything (in proper portions) and look and feel fabulous at the same time. And by not denying yourself, you’ll be less tempted to cheat when you get home from an event or outing.
Eat, drink and be wary
Don’t forget that those holiday cocktails can be loaded with more calories than the snackaroos. A good general rule for women is to limit themselves to one alcohol drink a day. Men can usually go for two drinks, depending on their individual weight. But drink sensibly — not just because you don’t want to be the one at the party wearing the lampshade, but because you don’t want to be the one in January wearing a moo-moo. (For a holiday cocktail calorie count, click here.)
Home, sweets, home
If you’re someone who’s more tempted to overindulge at home, when in private, then don’t feel like you have to do any holiday baking. Instead, stop by your local store (preferably one like Whole Foods, which is known for using healthier and more natural ingredients) and pick up any baked goods you want to give as a gift. And do so when on the way to an event. This way you not only don’t have to have the baked goods in your home tempting you, but you don’t have to deal with seeing your cabinets stocked with the tempting ingredients (bag o’ chocolate chips be gone!).
Make time to exercise
There are no excuses when it comes to moving your body. It must be done — even if you are running all over town like a renegade reindeer. The trick is to actually do the running – or walking at the very least. If you’re spending an afternoon at the mall, make a few more rounds than you have to, take stairs instead of escalators and park far away (which you’ll probably have to do anyway) in order to enjoy the lengthy walk to and from the mall entrance. And when you can, get your butt to the gym. Or, if you’re truly pressed for time, around the block. Even when incorporating the tips above, you’re likely to still be consuming more calories than you normally would over the next several weeks. So walk like you mean it (suck in that tummy and pump those arms). For 9 ways to exercise at the mall, click here.
Become a track star
By track, I mean tracking! In other words, make sure you keep a food diary during the holidays. Write down everything you consume — even the handful of raw cashews recommended above. Studies show that dieters who keep a food diary are not only more aware of what they’re eating, they’re also more likely to take off and keep off the excess pounds. So when in doubt, write it out. For a handy food diary you can print out and use anytime, click here.
Last but not least, enjoy yourself
While the season at hand obviously introduces some added stress into all of our lives, that doesn’t mean we should make like Ebenezer Scrooge. So take a (mental) load off and be gentle with yourself. We’re often our own worst enemies when it comes to critiquing ourselves. The fact is, even for all the great reasons we have for losing weight, we are good enough and hot enough right in this very moment (you’re being followed by TMZ cameras after all, remember?). So add a little of your own joy to the world — and to yourself – while living through and hopefully enjoying the season at hand.
Photo Source: LoveToKnow.com
No. That’s not the theme from Jaws you hear playing the background. Although for those of us with a dieter’s mentality, come mid November, that’s pretty much what we hear in our heads from now through New Year’s Day — along with the little voice inside our head telling us to “Just forget the diet and start again in the new year.”
Ulp. It’s that time again.
Nothing strikes terror in the heart of a dieter more than the holiday season. And like it or not, it’s upon us. But this year is going to be different. Why? Because this year, you’re staying in control (you are stronger than Pumpkin Pie, after all). And you’re also going to exercise your newfound knowledge regarding the difference between a Splurge Meal and a Binge. After all, Thanksgiving (and the rest of the holidays) are approaching quickly. So why not psyche ourselves up, mentally, now?
In the book Just Stop Eating So Much!, I write about Splurge Meal options when you get close to or reach your goal weight. Yes, at a Splurge Meal you can enjoy your favorite foods and beverages – but you’re encouraged to do it within reason (paying attention to portion sizes and pushing the plate away before the waistline of your jeans starts cutting off circulation to the upper half of your body).
The trick is to really enjoy a meal – not an entire day (or weekend, week, month or season) of splurging. Because when continuing to eat after the one meal, splurging becomesbingeing – and that leads to disaster for both your mental and physical health.
But here’s the good news! This Thanksgiving, whether you’re at, near – or far from – your goal weight, you have permission to enjoy a Splurge Meal. If you just enjoy the one Thanksgiving meal and eat and drink according to healthier food and portion guidelines for the rest of the holiday weekend, you won’t hurt your efforts to look and feel great.
And when it comes to splurging on Thanksgiving Dinner, try and make sure you enjoy allaspects of it and don’t make it about eating as many sweet potatoes as you can, since you know you’re back to your commitment to eating healthier resumes right after the meal is over. Instead, really taste the food with each bite. Savor every morsel – and enjoy all of the different the flavor sensations – while also enjoying the people you’re dining with and listing the reasons you’re thankful in your head.
So this Turkey Day, eat, drink and be merry – all without guilt. But don’t be a glutton. Stop before you’re too full and don’t mourn not being able to have a turkey sandwich later. After all, your weight loss efforts are a choice. You are choosing to get healthy, to look better, to fit into your skinny jeans and to turn a few heads by Christmastime.
By successfully living through an “eating holiday,” you will prove once and for all that this time you’re really in control. And that’s definitely cause for celebration!
Here’s hoping that if you’re under the tree in your candy cane pajamas (like my puppy Latte is here) that the jolly old elf in the red suit brings you everything you’re wishing for this Christmas! (Thank you so much for being part of Just Stop Eating So Much!)
This is one of my favorite ways to help the homeless or others in need during the holiday season — especially because you know that your gift or contribution will be used for food and drink. After all, it can be weird to hand over cash to a total stranger. No matter how ‘in need’ they seem, you’re never quite sure how they might use the money. So instead, why not try something I’ve been doing for years: pick up a couple of $5.00 Gift Cards from local coffee or snack shops (like Starbucks, etc.) and keep them handy for when someone on the street asks you for a handout.
By giving them the gift card, you’re giving them a gift of a warm drink or even a small meal or snack. This way you know your gift is truly being used to make someone in needs’ season a little more comfortable. And even though Starbucks gift cards are pictured here, I’m not saying it has to be Starbucks. (In other words, this is not a paid endorsement — LOL!) However, I do usually buy Starbucks gift cards for this purpose of holiday giving to the less fortunate, because there are lots of Starbucks around and, therefore, it’s easy for people to use the gift cards there without much travel.
If you have similar or different giving ideas for those in need, share them here. Together we can spread more JOY to the world! (Fa la la la la!)
This is definitely one of my favorite (and most surprising) holiday treats. Thus I always love to share this recipe during this most festive time of year. Now mind you, this treat might require some getting used to since it’s not traditional hot cocoa. But it doesn’t contain the traditional hot cocoa’s fat content or calorie count either. So raise some cane (as in candy cane) and drink in this cup of good cheer that will leave you still looking good for the new year.
Keep in mind, there’s nothing ‘Swiss’ or ‘Miss’ about this recipe. In fact, upon first sip, your taste buds will be in for a surprise. This is because the recipe calls for unsweetened cocoa powder. Thus, the concoction will have a slightly bitter taste – not unlike black coffee. But there’s also a subtle richness in the flavor (a richness that won’t add to your waistline) – along with the blissful taste of real cocoa.
To add interest (and some seasonal zest), mini candy canes (1 for each cup) can be used as stirrers and will sweeten the mixture up – but not in an overpowering way. Yes, this Guilt-Free Hot Chocolate might be classified as a treat that’s an acquired taste, but it’s become of a favorite of mine (and friends I make it for). So why not be adventurous and try something new (that’s also happens to be good for your commitment to healthy eating)?
8 cups 2% Reduced Fat Milk
1 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
8 Mini Candy Canes
Warm the milk on low heat on stove. Add the cocoa and mix with a whisk. When mixture gets hot (but before it boils), remove from heat and pour into 8 different coffee or cocoa mugs. Add 1 small candy cane on the side of the cup as a decoration (as well as to sweeten the mixture when used as a stirrer). Serves 8.