Holiday Eating and Diet Cheating: How to Make It Up to Yourself

By Martin Brown

holiday eatingThe vast majority of dieters would agree that the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is the toughest time of the year to stay on a diet. I know from experience that diet slippage is almost certain to happen at this time of year. So as the season of ho-ho-ho gets into full swing, I thought it would be a great time to give my list of five survival strategies to control overeating and prevent holiday weight gain.

Holiday Diet Strategy #1: Guilt Doesn’t Burn Calories
Don’t beat yourself up over that piece of pie, that cookie, or other holiday treats. Do your very best at any given party to limit yourself to one or two indulgences, but don’t angst over what you have eaten. It does nothing to change the calories that you have already consumed, and it annoys everyone around you who spends the evening hearing you say, “I should not have eaten that.” Well, you just did. So get over it, and move on.

Holiday Diet Strategy #2: Think Big, Eat Small
Thinking about how delicious that chocolate pecan pie must be will not put any weight on you. Eating two big slices will. Whenever you see something that is just irresistible don’t let it pass you by. Just opt for the smaller piece. Even if you go back and have another small piece, you will be better off than having started with a generous portion and then returning for seconds.

Holiday Diet Strategy #3: When You Eat, Stay Out of the Closet
Holiday denial often leads to closet binging. This happens when you say, “No,” in public, but “Yes,” when you’re back home and alone. Women, who as a general rule are more sensitive about eating in public then men, are particularly vulnerable to this trap. Two important ways to avoid this pitfall are: one, don’t take home high calorie leftovers, and two, don’t leave high calorie choices, like ice cream, cookies or chips in the house. Very few of us will go out to the store at midnight to buy a snack, but if it’s in the cupboard or the refrigerator, then the temptation may indeed be irresistible. At this time of year, like all other times of the year, keep a variety of low calorie alternatives available in the house that fill you up and satisfy a craving,  but don’t allow you to go wildly overboard.

Holiday Diet Strategy #4: Make Your Sins Worthy Ones
At just about every holiday gathering there are a variety of high calorie sins. Try this one simple rule: select those treats that are worthy of the sin. There’s chocolate that tastes like it came from the drug store checkout counter and then there’s the really good stuff. And that’s true for everything from appetizers to cakes and pies. The just okay choices pile on the calories the same as the really yummy selections. So choose well. Make the experience worthy of the sin.

Holiday Diet Strategy #5: That’s Why We Have January…
There is one simple and obvious reason why gym memberships take a jump in January, everybody is trying to counteract their overeating during the holidays. It is not at all uncommon to see your weight jump up by three to five pounds or more during the five to six weeks of the holiday season. The less you gain, the less you need to lose. Give that a quick thought whenever you take a small slice of pie, or one spoonful of stuffing, instead of two.

Other SMW Health Articles
10 Great Foods for a Heart-Smart Life
Stop Over-Indulging During the Holidays. Here’s How…
Mindless Eating—and What You Can Do About It
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