Here’s my list of hot and very effective holiday survival tips that anyone can follow and that are guaranteed to keep you smiling when you step on the scale come January 1st.
1. Don’t skip meals and don’t go to a party hungry. Imagine yourself as Scarlett O’Hara and eat a small snack before you go. Have 10 raw nuts or a hard-boiled egg so that you can control yourself in front of tempting treats.
2. Don’t eat like it’s your last meal. Wear great lipstick and something snug around your waistline. A holiday party is no place to be wearing an elastic waistband!
3. Step up the amount of exercise your getting. This is NOT the time to blow off the gym. At a minimum, take a quick 15 minute walk and take advantage of dancing at all the holiday parties.
4. Don’t go on a diet. Make a conscious decision to eat healthy during the holidays. Recognize what you are eating. Pick and choose the healthiest offerings such as shrimp, chicken skewers and vegetable crudités.
5. Pass on everyday foods like crackers and cheese or dips and chips. Save it for special holiday items.
6. Pick your poison. If you want to have a cocktail, skip the dessert. Or better yet, have your alcoholic beverage as dessert so you won’t be tempted to overindulge. You may find that you don’t want it then. Beware of sugary mixers and after-dinner liqueurs.
7. Skip high-calorie beverages like soda, smoothies and coffee drinks which add as much as 250 to 600 calories.
8. Don’t stand next to the food table and never eat while standing up. Keep a glass of sparkling water in one hand and a napkin in the other so you can’t grab anything.
9. If it’s really worth it, allow yourself 3 POLITE bites of it. Pretend you are being filmed for a national TV show while you are having these bites, so make them dainty.
10. In a buffet situation, go with the healthy offerings first and limit the decadent choices to the 3-Bite Rule (see above). Take one plate of food and nibble from that plate.
11. Engage an ally. Have a friend keep an eye on you and gently remind you if you are going over the edge.
12. Keep a food log. Research shows that people who write down what they eat during the holidays stick with their program and don’t add on any holiday pounds.
13. If it’s a potluck, bring one of your favorite healthy dishes. Whenever possible, be the host. When you are the host, it’s easy to sneak in healthy favorites cleverly disguised as holiday fare like roasted root vegetables, rosemary-crusted leg of lamb or smashed sweet potatoes.
14. One over-indulgence does not a binge make! If you blow it with one meal, it doesn’t mean the day is shot. Get yourself together and recommit to healthy eating and sticking to your program.
15. Be mindful. Think how heaping plates and overeating looks to your kids. Children learn from their parents. Is “stuffing your face” an example they should see?
16. If the party’s at your house, send the leftovers home with guests.
17. Reward yourself with whatever is a treat for you for sticking with your commitment.