Good Tips to Have in Your Back Pocket When Dieting for the Holidays

Searching for support around weight loss goals or maintenance at holiday time? At this busy time of year when decadent foods tempt at every turn, you may be in search of motivation and support. Here are some survival tips to keep you going with your healthy eating and fitness goals.

Lower the bar. You’ll take the pressure off yourself if you take a realistic approach to holiday eating. This is probably not a time when it will be easy to lose weight. But at the very least, you can maintain at the level of weight loss progress you’ve made. If you slip up, don’t beat yourself up. Just tell yourself that tomorrow is another day, and you can start off the day right by making healthy choices.

Recognize that holiday stress factors into your cravings. This is a fun and celebratory, yet somewhat stressful time of year. We find ourselves short on time, overwhelmed with financial pressure, and faced with a long to-do list that would intimidate even Santa Claus. Stress can cause us to feel hungry, as our brains and nervous systems can use the extra nutrition. Just going into the holiday season with this type of awareness can help you battle hunger pangs in a more sensible way.

Don’t leave the house hungry. One surefire kiss of death for the person trying to lose weight is heading out into the holiday hubbub on an empty stomach. Don’t brave the highway or the mall crowds without first fueling up with a healthy snack. Next time you’re at the grocery store, remember to grab some good-for-you foods like nuts or sunflower seeds; sugar-free trail mix; carrot sticks and other fresh veggies to take along with you on your holiday shopping hauls. You’ll be far less likely to find yourself careening into the drive-through with that hangry feeling.

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Know your weakness and actively avoid the temptation. If you know that a late-night ice cream binge is highly likely, then don’t rationalize having a gallon of ice cream in the freezer “for the kids.” You can always treat them to individual ice cream bars when out and about.

Avoid bite-sized goodies that came in packages and can get you into trouble. Cookies and packaged candies are probably one of the top temptations to avoid if you’re dieting. One leads to two and two leads to five and so on. Don’t be tempted to go the economical route and stock up on bulk sized portions of sweet and fattening snacks. You will likely find that the more you have in the house, even if available in small handful sized servings, the more you’re likely to return for more and more handfuls.

If you must eat heavy and rich foods, try portion control. A palm-sized portion of veggie lasagna paired with a healthy salad and small cup of vegetable soup can be the perfect, delicious dinner that won’t put you over the calorie and fat limit. Remember that it really is about portion sizes, choosing whole foods over processed packaged convenience foods, and eating a colorful plate of veggies at every meal.

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