With the holidays approaching, you may be anticipating, with a bit of trepidation, all the food temptation that you are likely to be subjected to. It’s no doubt the time of year when boxes of chocolate and cookies inevitably appear on your doorstep or in the office . . .and you find yourself at parties where endless spreads of sweets and high calorie dishes abound. Cheery faces thrust rich food and beverages into your hands . . .and it may feel like you are clinging to every ounce of willpower you have, but only by a thread.
Relax, and cast your worries aside. With the following ten tips, you’ll be able to survive the holiday onslaught with a smile, and fitting into your clothes easily. . . .
Tip #1: Avoid excess hunger. Do not let yourself become ravenously hungry. Make sure that especially at this time of year, you plan regular, healthy meals for yourself so that your stomach is comfortably full. You¹ll be less tempted to binge, if your blood sugar isn’t plummeting, so make sure to include enough protein in your diet.
Tip #2: Take time for physical exercise. This will keep your blood sugar stable, reduce stress, increase your metabolism, and improve your overall sense of well-being. Find an activity that’s fun for you that you can really enjoy and look forward to‹perhaps a long walk while pumping to the beat of your favorite music, racquetball, or in-line skating.
Tip #3: Have foresight. Plan a strategy for those situations where you know your willpower will be tested. If you know that you will be at a party where sinful treats are likely to be plentiful, plan your course of action in advance. Keep in mind that if you totally deprive yourself, you’re very likely to binge later. Make your strategy one that you are happy with. Perhaps you’ll allow yourself to indulge in a certain number of hors’d’oeuvres, but steer clear of the dessert table.
Tip #4: Be assertive: Mentally rehearse challenging situations that are likely, before they happen. Create mental movies where you are the heroine‹overcoming any temptation to sabotage yourself by overeating in social situations or giving in to outside pressure to eat foods that you know are harmful to you. Practice using phrases of assertiveness such as “No thanks, I’m not hungry, or Everything was delicious, but I’ve had enough.”
Tip #5: Be prepared: Carry around healthy snacks such as celery, cucumber or carrot sticks to munch on during the day. The fiber in the vegetables will help you to have a full feeling in your belly, and make it easier to walk away from the junk.
Tip #6: Keep your eye on your goal. Even the most difficult situation is transitory so keep your focus on your ultimate desire for your self to get you through any challenges: Achieving and maintaining your ideal weight, fitting into your clothes comfortably, feeling happy and confident in your relationship to food. Frequently visualize yourself at your ideal weight, wearing your favorite outfit and engaging in an activity that you really enjoy.
Tip #7: Reward your successes. You got through the entire evening by focusing on and enjoying the people you were with, drinking bubbling water with lemon and lime, and only nibbling on some cheese, crackers and veggies, followed by a healthful dinner. Congratulate yourself! Treat yourself to a full body massage and revel in how good it feels to truly honor and care for yourself.
Tip #8: Be gentle with yourself. So you couldn’t resist and before you even realized what you were doing, you gobbled down three homemade cookies. Now the old self-talk starts creeping in, encouraging you to just throw in the towel and eat more (since you already blew your “diet”). Resist the temptation to agree with that negative voice, give yourself a moment to recover, and make a new choice. Remind yourself that if you were carrying two plates and one fell, you wouldn’t just drop the other one, too. Walk away from those cookies . . .take a deep breath and find a more healthful activity.
Tip #9: Stress Busters are essential. The holidays can be a time of added frenzy. Prepare for that by engaging in stress busting behaviors. Take some time everyday to center yourself with self-hypnosis or meditation. Become aware of your breathing throughout the day, and make sure that you are taking full, deep, life affirming breaths. Drink lots of water and make sure to stretch throughout the day to help release some of the tension that’s accumulated in your muscles.
Tip #10: Use positive self-talk. When you become aware of inner voices that sabotage you, choose to not listen to them. Practice giving yourself positive suggestions instead. Speak to yourself the way you would imagine that the most loving, caring friend would talk to you. Praise the progress you’ve already made such as avoiding hanging around by the food table at parties, and give yourself gentle encouragement to help yourself avoid any pitfalls you may encounter.
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Rena Greenberg has had the privilege over the last 25+ years to work with over 100,000 people in 75 medical centers to help them lose weight without surgery.