Purim, Passover, and Easter are nearly here, and although they can be a lot of fun, all holidays, can be stressful. There’s the preparation, cleanup, and interactions with relatives who may not be supportive of you or your healthy diet plan; then add to that treat foods which lure us with memories of childhood, or heartwarming traditional foods associated with those holidays like chocolate filled marshmallow eggs or hamentashen cookies that just aren’t around all year long. It seems temptation is lurking at every turn. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. You might find yourself unwittingly succumbing to the temptation to binge on those treats or over- eat at the buffet. ..Even though you know you’ll be disappointed when you see the numbers on the scale a week later.
In order to not blow all the hard work you have been doing, it’s a good idea to become mindful of the caloric impact of various foods and situations you will likely encounter so you can plan accordingly. You need a strategy.
Here are 10 tips to help you survive the holidays with your head held high and your bottom zipped securely into your skinny skirt:
- Don’t arrive hungry! If I know the meal will be filled with things I’d rather not eat..or a ton of things I would rather eat but won’t be proud that I ate so much of them a week later– I might down a protein shake an hour before the meal and spoil my appetite. Drink a glass of water before hitting the buffet to help fill your tummy, or add to that water a scoop of psyllium husks (a fiber supplement that can be found at health food stores). Eat normal meals through the rest of the day that are healthful but slightly lower in calories. For instance, if you trim 100 calories off breakfast and lunch and a snack, you can indulge in a 300 calorie treat without impact.
- Exercise! Burn off the extra calories before you have them & keep your metabolism up.
- Don’t hang out by the buffet. Focus on being social.
- Eat your greens first, before the higher calorie foods like proteins and desserts. If you must graze, make it at the veggie platter.
- Choose well. Grilled, boiled, baked or broiled and steamed will be lower on fat ad calories generally. Fried, sauteed ( in fat/oil), dressings, cream sauces, Au gratin (a cheese sauce) will have a higher fat and calorie impact.
- Offer to bring a dish. Almost any dish has a healthy version. Just google healthy version and name the dish and you will have a plethora of options.
- Don’t deprive yourself! Plan your indulgences. Enjoy in moderation. Have that cookie (not 12) and savor it. Eat it slowly, on a plate, sitting down. Maybe even try eating the main meal on a smaller plate for that matter- to control your portion sizes.
- Easy on the alcohol. Alcohol’s hormonal effects which can make you store fat … this is on top of the plain caloric impact and relative lack of nutritional value.
- Keep yourself accountable. Keep a food journal and log what you are eating. There are calorie counters on line and even diet journal apps for your smartphone so you can log right there in the buffet line. Lose It is my favorite.. You can even scan the bar code of those chips on the table and know immediately how to fit them into your calorie allowance.
- Holiday stress can make you release the hormone grehlin which makes you hungry, and the stress hormone cortisol which can make you pack on the fat. Consider lessening your commitments and obligations so you aren’t pressed for time and will have enough sleep and mental clarity to withstand temptations that threaten to destroy your new good habits.