Holidays and celebrations are always just around the corner. Learn how to say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just another day dealing with food.”
— Dee Wolk, No Diet Weight Solution®
Holidays can be a torturous time for those trying to maintain their healthy lifestyle. Pumpkin pie, cakes and fudge are tempting delights for all of us. But the holidays don’t have to be a tortuous, tempting event — you can enjoy food and drink and still stay on your healthy track.
“The holidays are synonymous with food and drink. For many, it starts with Halloween candy and ends with nachos on New Year’s,” says Dee Wolk, author of the cookbook “Kitchen Express: Good Food Fast —For Real People With Real Lives” and the founder of Dee Wolk’s Weight Solution™, a breakthrough way to lose weight, keep it off, and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.
“Through my research, I have learned that there are approximately 55 celebrations per individual, per year. This includes religious holidays, national holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, graduations, etc. Holidays and celebrations are always just around the corner. So I say, ‘What’s the big deal? It’s just another day dealing with food.’”
Wolk says you can alleviate a lot of stress and guilt when it comes to those extra holiday goodies, but stay in present time with yourself. Don’t feel that you will automatically binge this year just because this has been your pattern in the past. Focus on all the things you want to accomplish. You can win the battle over holiday weight gain; it is all “between your ears,” not on the food table.
To help you stay in control this year, here are some common holiday scenarios you will likely face again this season. But this year really can be different. Here are solid, proven strategies that will help you handle these tempting holiday situations:
1. Facing the holiday buffet table.
The golden rule! Never go to a holiday party too hungry! If you do, it is guaranteed you will overeat. As you approach the food table, feed your brain first with two words, “Pick & Choose.” Eat only the foods that are worthy of you. Also, take small portions. It helps if you use a salad plate and not a dinner plate — you’ll take less. If you find you have food left on your plate and you are no longer hungry, leave it. Remember, if you don’t waste it — you’ll wear it!
2. Going to a cocktail party.
Again, avoid going to your party too hungry. Never eat anything standing. This contributes to overeating because you lose your awareness. Find a chair and sit while eating. You will eat less this way. Remember, alcohol has no food value and lots of sugar. This can contribute to weight gain so it is best to limit alcoholic beverages. Emphasize the festivities, de-emphasize the food. Talk, laugh, have fun. Enjoy the occasion more than the food.
3. Shopping at the mall.
This is definitely a tough one because you are bombarded with wonderful aromas almost as soon as you enter the mall. A good way to avoid these temptations is to focus on the shopping you have to accomplish. Make a list of the gifts you have to buy and bring this list with you. If you get hungry while shopping, be particular about what you choose to eat. A protein is always a good pick. For example, choose a grilled chicken sandwich on half a bun with a side salad. You become what you choose to eat!
4. Sweets, sweets everywhere!
This time of year, it is common to find sweets and goodies in your office kitchen or break room. These foods are often trigger foods that lead to overeating of useless calories. Stay out of the kitchen and at your desk — avoid having the temptation stare you in the face. Bring foods to the office that don’t create weight gain but still have a festive appeal, like a small piece of low-fat applesauce cake. Make a poster for your desk that reads, “Nothing tastes as good as thinner feels.”
5. Facing holiday stress.
Don’t feed food to your feelings. Emotional hunger is as real as physical hunger, but it can only be satisfied by an appropriate emotional response. Eating when stressed will result in weight gain, and weight gain will make you even more stressed. Stop this cycle in your life and listen to your feelings. For example, if you are tired, get some rest. If you are lonely, call a friend. If you feel edgy, go for a walk. This behavior will result in a healthier, happier you. What have you got to lose? (Except weight).
“You can choose how to live, how to eat, how you exercise, how you control stress,” says Wolk. “Therefore, I wish you the strength of character to pull yourself up by those battered boot straps and practice positive thinking — you can do it! You deserve it! Good health everyone and happy holidays!”