Surviving holidays on a diet can be challenging. Halloween, Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving all represent a feasting circle nightmare where families, friends and acquaintances we only partially know meet to share food and tall tales. If you are on a diet that can be a very tricky time but dieting successfully during the holidays is not impossible.
Getting Caught up in the Moment
Craving those holiday treats and throwing away our diet by continuing to overeat is a common after effect of holiday feasting. We get caught up in the moment when friends and family gather to talk and share in holiday festivities and reach for the chip bowl. We wind up eating way too much setting our diet plans back months. Being able to make it through the holidays takes a lot of willpower and some simple tricks. Remember these hints to help you through:
- Call the host prior to the party to see what is on the menu and offer to bring healthy choices or request foods you can eat
- Before you leave, eat something especially if you know there won't be any food for you
- If you are counting calories or carbs then work your counts around this day so you won't go over
- If there is a table of food stand away from it to avoid temptation to graze
- Make the party what it is: a social event and let the food stay what it is: second fiddle
- Choose foods that you know are better for you that fit your diet plan
Portion Control Buddy System
It may sound a bit odd but why not take a person with you to these get-togethers? This can be a husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend or close friend. They can keep an eye out for you and let you know when you are about to step over your dietary line in to dangerous territory. This works even better if the person is dieting with you - you can be each other's voice on the shoulder. You become accountable to each other.
Bring Your Own Dining Supplies
Hold yourself accountable for what you eat by bringing your own plate and utensils. It sounds silly but smaller plates make what you choose look like more than what it really is and the same applies when utilizing smaller than average silverware. If the food looks bigger, you mentally trick yourself into feeling fuller.
Host a Party Yourself
With so many parties raging during the holidays, you cannot possibly make it to every single one. Take the pressure off yourself (and your belt) by hosting your own party. This way you can maintain your diet on your own terms. Plan to include foods you can eat by reinventing old favorites so that you can eat them. Your friends and family may not even know the difference.
You can also make it a healthy holiday potluck dinner. Have your friends or family members each bring a dish of food that is healthy. Point out that you don't want anything high in saturated fats or sugar, deep fried or high in calories. Some examples you could offer them as ideas could be:
- Antipasto salad with low-fat oil and vinegar, meats that are low fat and low in salt, reduced fat or soy cheese and whole wheat pasta
- Fresh vegetable tray with vegetables low in carbohydrates along with reduced-fat ranch dip
- Organic soup made from straight-from-the-garden seasonal vegetables and all natural, low-sodium stock
- Desserts made will fresh, organic fruits or soy products
Surviving Holidays on a Diet Survival Tips
When surviving the holidays on a diet, you need to remember that the diet is for you and you are the only one to blame if you go off the wagon and begin grazing at every buffet table you can find. There are factors that can get you off track:
- Remember to take time out for yourself to relax - at least five minutes a day when you can practice deep breathing exercises when you feel stressed
- Exercising during the holidays is important, but you have to set realistic goals because you will be running around like mad and that can make exercise more stress than anything else
- Holiday exercise with a buddy so you can have a chance to talk with someone and reduce your stress while burning calories
- Don't pick a diet that is overly restrictive like a juice fasting diet right before Christmas
- If you are the one giving the party why not create new traditions that include healthy eating and physical activity
- Drink a lot of water as it keeps you hydrated and counters alcohol consumption
- Do not aim for perfection because you will only set yourself up to fail. Holidays are tough enough as it is and there may be times that you slip up. Don't let yourself get angry overeat
- Avoid an excess of caffeine as it is stimulant and can only add to the holiday stress you are already feeling
- Bring along some 100 calorie snacks instead of eating the feast placed before you limit yourself to your snack bags
Surviving the holiday feasting schedule is more than possible with a little dedication, will power and planning ahead.