Avoiding holiday weight gain

Avoiding holiday weight gain

Thanksgiving is over and now it’s the start of the sinfully delicious holiday season. But maybe it’s also time to give some thought to your future New Year’s resolution—will it be something better than loosing the weight gained in December?
Here are two painless ways for avoiding holiday weight gain without giving up the pleasures of the season—they are not diets! These are mindful eating strategies that help to limit the mundane temptations, not the special treats of the season.

First Tip – Seasonal Candy Dishes

As we decorate for the season with special holiday ornamental dishes it’s easy to fall back to the usual plan: fill those dishes with  the brightly colored seasonal chocolates and candies. That is what the Dove® chocolate company wanted me to do with the glass dish I use for my logo and as the cover picture of this post!

I love their dark chocolate, and a dish of those chocolates would tempt me every time I walked by it. This is good business for the Dove company but not for my waistline. Eating those chocolates while I walk by is mindless eating, quickly forgotten. If I don’t see the chocolates I don’t miss them. The best use of my willpower is to not set up such bobby traps in my house!

Food that’s eaten because it catches your eye is not food that you remember and savor; removing those temptations doesn’t effect your pleasure. Chocolates or other goodies should be safely tucked away out of sight. That way you eat them only when the urge hits long enough for you to find them. This planned indulgence is much more satisfying and memorable than the candy eaten while doing other things.

nut-temptationThe holiday dishes are beautiful and I love displaying them but I’ve now gotten creative. They aren’t limited to just candy. How about displaying some shells, a few small ornaments, some colored glass? If the bowl is larger consider nuts in their shells or bright tangerines. Throw in some small colorful ornaments if you want the whole display to pop.

Shelling nuts or peeling tangerines takes effort and this means planning and attention. Again, a planned eating event—and even better, it’s healthy nuts and fruit that we need to increase in the diet!

Second Tip – Buffet Spread

Those buffet parties sure make it easy to get carried away. Many people try to skimp on the meal before, but that has a negative consequence—less self-control around food. A better plan is to arrive only a little hungry and to scout out the buffet before you grab a plate. On the scouting trip mark the healthy vegetables, fruits, as well as the delectable items you most want. Only then should you grab a plate. Fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables and use the other half for items you love.

Then enjoy! If afterwards you want other items, go back for seconds. This isn’t about depriving yourself but instead trying to avoid high calorie foods that does not sing to you, food items you would forget when they are out of sight.

Mindful Eating

Mindful eating habits take effort—they require you to pay attention to the calories you eat. It’s just like money. The financial gurus all advise a budget for gift shopping, and we should also budget the calories in our treats. Avoid wasting your money or calories on cheap items that catch the eye and are then discarded or forgotten. Instead save the calories for those memorable foods that define the season for you.

How did these tips work for you? Please also let me know of other tricks you find helpful.