For the remainder of this month we really need to kick it up and make wise decisions if we don’t want to be hitting ourselves over the head come January. Our goal is to stay focused on the big picture and not lose touch with the little things we can do to remain in control and on track. My biggest downfall is the Holiday Buffet. Love it, hate it, and wait all year for it. Hopefully the Top Ten will help you make it through without any regrets!
1. Practice Mindfulness. Wake up in the morning slowly. Meditate a bit before you start your day. Remind yourself to eat slowly every time you sit down to a meal. End your day with a silent, thankful meditation. In a study by UCSF researchers published online in the Journal of Obesity, mastering simple mindful eating and stress-reduction techniques helped prevent weight gain even without dieting-the link to the study is at the bottom of the page. Pay attention to your body’s hunger and satiety cues. They are there, will you listen?
2. Eat a healthy breakfast all month. Don’t let your body think it is starving. Breaking the Fast (breakfast) should be done each morning to stoke your metabolism and supply you with the energy you need to carry you through the day. Also, never forget that your brain is a carb hog that has no storage facility for glucose and so it needs to be stoked slow and steady like a good fire. Without breakfast, your cravings for sugar will skyrocket and your mind will not be equipped with the tools it needs to make the right decisions. According to James O. Hill, PhD, the National Weight Control Registry’s co-founder, and director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center “…successful ‘losers’ reported eating breakfast every day, and almost 90% reported eating breakfast at least five days a week – which suggests that starting the day with breakfast is an important strategy to lose weight and keep it off.” This is not the time of the year to be walking around hungry all day. There are just too many temptations. Check out the CookNook for some whole grain breakfast options and start your day by nurturing your body with a good meal so it doesn’t keep yelling at you to eat.
3. Do not drink your calories. Avoid the Gingerbread & Caramel Brulee Lattes, and other calorie packed holiday drinks like the plague. Some of these drinks have 800 calories per serving and will slap themselves right onto your thighs mercilessly. Just eliminating these drinks will make a huge difference in your daily caloric balancing act. Save the caloric expenditure for stuff you can chew.
4. Watch the alcohol. Save the mixed drinks and wine until you’ve had your good, main meal. Once you have a few drinks in you it is more likely you will throw caution to the wind and make some bad choices. So hold off on the Cosmopolitan until after you have walked away from the buffet. As far as the drinks go remember Rule #2 and make sure you choose simpler drinks that don’t carry too many calories. Check out the link at the bottom of the page for the WebMD article-“Low-Calorie Cocktails”.
5. Never, ever show up hungry. This is the most powerful rule to follow. Appetizers are the first bullet to dodge; get through this and you are on your way. Stay away from the creamy dips. If you see your favorite dip that you can’t pry yourself away from eat it with celery or carrots, not crackers. You can always have a healthy snack before you arrive unless you are certain some healthy choices will be available. If you are uncertain either go for the pre-snack, bring a contribution of your own or consider showing up a fashionably late after the apps are cleared and the main meal is out.
6. Choose your plate size wisely. According to studies done by Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, the amount you eat is significantly reduced by the size of your plate. In his book “Mindless Eating: Why we Eat More Than We Think”, he states that we make 250 decisions day regarding food, many based on visual cues, so very often small tweaks in your approach to food will make a big difference in the amount of food you ingest. So whenever possible use a smaller plate at the dinner party and in your kitchen as well.
7. The first food on your dinner plate should be the healthiest choices available. Eat a plate of salad and veggies and then wait 20 minutes before going back in. This is how long it takes for your brain to get the message that food has been consumed. Let your body know that it is being fed, let it register and then go back for your favorites. Take this time to walk around and say hello, preferably in a room where the food is not whispering or shouting for you to come back. Or start a little dance party-that is what I do to get away from the food- I try to only do this with my close friends that know me well…
8. Go in for seconds and get out! Again- use a small plate. Take a bit more salad and veggies and if possible choose the simpler meat and pasta dishes without creamy sauces. Once you have made your choices, take your food and go sit down in a different room and relax and enjoy your meal with friends. Stay out of the room that the food is in and never stand next to the buffet. If I do that you may as well just give me a big fork and let me eat out of the trays. Take your food and leave and don’t look back!
9. Start one New Year’s Resolution early. This is a good time to make the five to nine fruit and veggie servings a day happen. When compared to other snack foods like chips and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and veggies are always the better choice. They have fewer calories, tons of nutrients and contain the fiber you need to keep it all moving along nicely. Make a deal with yourself that you will include eating these healthy snacks into your life whenever you can and then make it happen. Buy them bagged and cut, cut- them up yourself, make extra for dinner and bring them for lunch. Try your best to make it happen and you will feel less guilty when you do indulge. There are too many cannolis calling my name and I know a few will end up on my plate…
10. Be Nice to Yourself- Don’t Diet in December Trying to follow a diet in December is torture; save it for your list of New Year’s Resolutions. We have 11 months a year to limit ourselves, to deny ourselves- I personally do not think that this is the time to try and drop 10 pounds. I simply try and hold steady and not do anything I’ll regret on January 1st. Eat healthy, balanced meals whenever you can and when you go out, allow yourself that treat you deny yourself all year long. Don’t have time to get to the gym? Put some tunes on and dance like no one is watching! This feels great and you will burn plenty of calories in the comfort of your own home. If you have young children they will love this, if you have teenagers they will not… not at all.
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© 2014 InnerMom
Judy Banks, Chopra Center Vedic Master, AADP Certified Holistic Health Coach
All right reserved- Reproduce with Permission only