Seven strategies to avoid overdoing it
If eating only one one brownie sends you on a binge, then it's best to avoid having even that sole treat. | AP
Trying to avoid gaining weight during the holidays? These reality checks are important to your success:
1. Know yourself: You know your weaknesses. If eating one potato chip leads to devouring 100, don’t have the first one. If having even two bites of fudge brownies results in your binging for three days, choose a fresh strawberry from the fruit platter … and smile at your self-discipline.
2. Honor your own commitments: “I’ll exercise tomorrow” isn’t holding yourself accountable. If you promise yourself you’ll exercise an extra 45 minutes in trade for a thin wedge of cheesecake, be true to your word — and proud of your character.
3. Be an honest mathematician, especially with calories: Calories add up — whether you remember to count them or not. Your all-day grazing — the doughnut between your sensible Cheerios for breakfast and salad for lunch, the mid-afternoon bag of chips from the vending machine, the handful (or two) of M&M’s from your co-worker, the bowl of microwave popcorn before bedtime — adds up. Lapses in counting calories show up on the scales.
4. Be flexible and eliminate the “I” in traditions: Just because you’ve always baked 12 dozen Snickerdoodles doesn’t mean you have to continue the holiday tradition. This is the year to start new traditions whether that be creating festive fruit skewers, hiring professional cleaners to diminish your stress, or asking family members to help with the decorating, shopping, and wrapping.
5. Simplify, simplify, simplify to stave off hunger: If your hectic schedule or holiday travel means you don’t have time for a protein-heavy breakfast, grab a Special K Cranberry Walnut Protein Meal Bar or special K French Vanilla or Chocolate Milk Protein Shake for on-the-go eating. And pack a banana, apple or one or two 100-calorie snacks for between-meal munching.
6. Practice saying, “No, thank you”: Aunt Roxie might have good intentions when she insists you have another buttered croissant, but it’s perfectly OK for you to politely decline undesired food, alcohol, and invitations. Wink and say, “All things in moderation.” It’s your body, your health.
7. When you mess up — and you will — get back on the wagon: If you gain 2 or 3 pounds, don’t beat yourself up with could’ve and should’ve scoldings. Guilt leads to emotional over-eating. Instead, get those extra pounds off right away by eating less and exercising more. Don’t allow 3 pounds to become 5, 10 or 15.
Sandy Thorn Clark