Tuesday, November 18, 2014

my weight loss toolbox: planning for the holidays

my weight loss toolbox:                          planning for the holidays
With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other festive holidays coming up, I am planning ahead to keep my weight loss goals in mind. It's easy to lose perspective during this busy season. Busy can mean a lack of activity and lack of activity paired with plenty of delicious (potentially high calorie/low quality) foods and meals can cause setbacks. I've put some tips together to help get through the holidays.

Set goals/refresh your goals
Do you want to lose weight this season? Do you want to maintain your weight?  Would you be okay with gaining 5 pounds so long as you get to enjoy all of the foods you love? What are your goals? Go into this time of year with those goals in mind. Plan accordingly.

Stay active by challenging yourself
In the past I've made the goal to run a mile a day from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day (see here to read more about it). I'm not doing that again because I don't love running. Ha. I will be challenging myself to stay regularly active throughout the holidays, however. I do enjoy Zumba, walking, interval training, for example. Exercising is a priority and helps counteract some of those extra calories being consumed.

Find a partner
It is likely you will find another person who is also not wanting to derail all of their hard work. That person could help keep you accountable by motivating you to exercise and/or to eat moderately.

Eat moderately the week of the event
I like the Weight Watchers' points system. Using the points system, I'm allotted a particular amount of daily points to eat, which are calculated using my gender, weight, height, and whether I'm breastfeeding or not. Foods are assigned a point value (fruits and vegetables are 0 points). I budget my points to stay within my allotted points. There are also 49 weekly points which can be used whenever I'd like- on the weekends, for a birthday celebration, a special anniversary dinner, throughout the week, etc. Thanksgiving week I will likely be saving the majority of my points for Thanksgiving. That means I will be eating moderately, but still enough for my daily requirements (food fuels our bodies!) that week, which will allow me to consume extra points (calories) on Thanksgiving.

Eat normally the day of the big event
It may be tempting to save your calories and eat only during your festive meal, but you will probably be "hangry" (angry and hungry) by the time you've given yourself permission to eat. Thus, it will make the meal less enjoyable. Also, you will probably eat more than you would have had you been eating normally throughout the day. On Thanksgiving day, I plan to eat my typical healthy breakfast (oatmeal or Greek yogurt) and not be ravenous for our family celebrations later in the day.

Replace high calorie with low calorie, yet satisfying, options
For example, if you're cooking and a recipe calls for a stick of butter- use 1/2 instead of the whole stick. Simple tweaks can make a dish significantly lighter. Or maybe you're not cooking and there's a spread of food in front of you. Ask yourself how you can make your plate lighter without feeling like you're depriving yourself. For example, add a tablespoon of gravy to your mashed potatoes instead of 1/4 cup.

Eat some vegetables
Include vegetables on your plate. They're light and if prepared correctly (or to your taste), they can be a delicious addition to your meal. If you're hosting, think of some vegetable sides to add to your menu. If you're not hosting, bring a veggie platter to share.

Eat what you love
Like I said, don't deprive yourself. You want to enjoy your festive meals and if you don't eat your favorite entrees or sides, you're likely to binge later. Enjoy your favorites in moderation.

Eat only what you love
Don't waste calories on foods you don't really like. If you don't like Aunt Sue's green bean casserole (sorry, Aunt Sue) then don't eat it. Or maybe you're hosting and you made a dish everyone else seems to really enjoy, but you're not that into it- don't eat it. You don't have to eat what "everybody" else is eating.

Watch your beverages
Sugary drinks and alcoholic drinks (or sugary, alcoholic drinks!) have a way of adding up. Drink water instead. ;) If you have to have a beverage as in, it's not a party without _____), then sip slowly and mindfully.

Occupy your hands
It might be tempting to eat and keep on eating because hey, isn't that what we're here for? No. Remember to socialize. Play with the kids. Hold that cute baby. Don't treat eating as an indoor sport.

If you're hosting, send some leftovers home with family/friends. You don't want all of that food tempting you the next day or days after.

Enjoy yourself
Being mindful doesn't mean you can't enjoy yourself. :)

(Want to know more about My Weight Loss Toolbox?  Start here, and continue here).