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Monday, November 3, 2008

MAINTENANCE TIPS DURING THE HOLIDAYS

One of the biggest challenges to people on a weight loss program is facing the holiday season and being swept up in the holiday food frenzy. From mid November to January, it seems that discussions of food abound, people everywhere are pushing tempting treats, and more food ends up on your plate at parties and dinners. What can you do survive that dreaded danger zone without completely destroying all the effort you have put into starting and maintaining your weight loss program? Try some of these tips, and you'll be able to face the scale in January without fear.

DON'T GET CAUGHT HUNGRY

Don't starve yourself all day so that you can have more food selections at dinner. In fact, the worst thing you can do for your diet is go anywhere hungry. When you're hungry you'll be much more likely to give into temptation, or completely over indulge once you do start eating.

If you are going to a holiday occasion at which you know food will be the main event, eat a large but healthy, diet-friendly lunch or brunch that day, and have a snack before you leave the house. It will help you keep your mind off of how much food you can eat, and allow you to enjoy the company of friends and family.

KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS HANDY

If you find your co-workers are celebrating the holiday spirit by spreading sweets around the office, keep snacks that are allowed on your diet: light popcorn, carrot sticks, fresh fruit, low carb chips, or sugarless candy. If you do find yourself wanting to nosh on something, you'll be much more likely to give into temptation if you're hungry and there is nothing else around to eat but junk food. Don't let yourself fall into a candy trap-- when you're offered something you're not supposed to eat, turn it down, walk away, and get out your own snacks.

FIND REASONABLE FACSIMILES

Is there a certain food that you love far too much and afraid that the temptation will be too much to handle? Then find a satisfying substitute that is permissible on your diet, and enjoy that instead.

BRING YOUR OWN DISH

If you're going to a holiday gathering and you are on a special diet, bring a dish of your favorite diet-permitted meal to share. This is especially true if you know your family makes the same fattening menu year after year, or if you don't know if your hosts are very health conscious around the holiday season. By bringing something you made yourself, you are assured to have at least one low calorie (low carb, low fat, dietetic, vegan) dish to make the main portion of your dinner.

DON'T COMPLETELY DEPRIVE YOURSELF

You don't have to abstain from everything that isn't 100% within your diet. In fact, complete deprivation can lead to depression, frustration, and, often in a diet, it can lead to failure. Don't punish yourself. Part of dieting is learning to eat right and take things in moderation. If you know of a couple of things that really make you feel like you're losing control, steer clear of them, but as long as you have been sticking to your diet and exercise program don't forget to treat yourself to a little indulgence every once in a while.

FIND A FOOD-FREE ZONE

When you do go to a party or dinner, try to find an area not close to the foods. Don't spend a lot of time staring at the table of decadent desserts if you can help it. After you've enjoyed your meal, and maybe a little treat, get up and walk away from the table.

SCHEDULE MORE EXERCISE PROGRAMS

As the holidays draw closer, check your schedule and set aside more time to exercise. If you usually walk for 45 minutes per day, make it an hour. If you work out at the gym three days a week, set aside time to go four or even five times. Even though time is tight during the busy season, scheduling extra exercise sessions will have many benefits that will help during the holidays. Additional exercise will raise your energy levels and lower your stress levels, which will help you keep in high spirits and tackle all of the challenging chores coming your way. That will make you feel good about yourself, and when you feel good about yourself it is easier to remain positive and stick to your diet. In addition, extra exercise will burn up that many more calories, giving you more leeway for a higher calorie intake so that you don't have to feel guilty about that buttered roll or sliver of cheesecake.

4:33 pm est 


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