Ho! Ho! Ho! Heidi here. Well, it’s that time again (National Eating Season) and despite my promises to cut the calories and trim the fat, Thanksgiving came and the turkey wasn’t the only thing that ended up stuffed. Ugh! But I know I am not alone. Overeating during the holidays is about as traditional as pumpkin pie.
Now if it was just one day a year, it might not matter. But it’s entirely possible that you and I will consume thousands of extra calories during the next month. (As I sit here looking at my Thanksgiving leftovers). Recent studies show that Americans gain up to five pounds on average between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
I am determined to not let this happen. Especially because I will be wearing a bathing suit on Christmas day. No snowy wonderland for us. We are taking off for white sand beaches of Costa Rica, surfboards in tow, to surf away the holidays. The family vacation part – I am looking forward to but the bathing suit part scares me to death. Motivation.
So I put together my Holiday Survival Strategy hoping we could all benefit. This strategy isn’t about substituting baking ingredients or walking more miles. I kind of already do that. This strategy is for the days I am a mindless muncher, a large portioner or an emotional binger. As we don’t always eat to live, sometimes we live to eat. And I can tell you my strategies below really do work! Seriously…I didn’t just make this stuff up. It’s been proven, ah hum, scientifically by Dr. Brian Wansink, PhD. Want to learn more? Read his most awesome book called Mindless Eating.
How to Survive the Holidays without Gaining Weight if you are a…
Mindless Munchers: Avoid buffet tables, bowls of nuts and candy, plates of sweets at the office, and any other situation where it’s easy to mindlessly snack. Honestly, it’s best not to rely on willpower. Even I can’t say no to homemade cookies left on the counter. Stand or walk on the other side of the room, keep a low calorie drink in your hand when you are at a party, or substitute low calorie snacks for those chips you have at home. So if you can’t say no, get rid of it or put it out of view.
Large portioners: Grab a smaller plate–like a salad plate. I do this all the time. Smaller portions on smaller plates help you feel more satisfied and you WILL eat less. And don’t forget to focus on your food so you recognize when you’re full. It also helps to not pre-load your fork with the next bite while still chewing the last one. Remember, this isn’t your last meal.
Emotional Bingers: Create a list of things other than food that make you feel good. My list includes calling a friend, taking a bath or watching a Scandal rerun. When you are on the verge of a binge, use that list to find another way to soothe yourself. If these techniques don’t eliminate your emotional eating urges, go ahead and indulge—but try healthier food. Drink Perrier instead of soda; munch on veggies or healthy snacks; nibble one or two pieces of dark chocolate instead of binging on a whole plate of chocolate brownies.
Regardless of what type of eater you are (I am all three at different times), never go to a holiday gathering on an empty stomach. Being hungry at a party makes the buffet table or stack of treats in the break room all the more tempting. Remember, willpower on an empty stomach never works.