For many, Halloween marks the start of a challenging season for weight management. But with the right planning, you won’t fall into the same old traps. Here are some practical strategies to help keep you focused. Many of these strategies have been tested by scientist and expert Brian Wansink who runs the Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. He is also the author of Mindless Eating and Slim by Design, which I highly recommend reading if you are trying to lose weight. Visit his website here.
Strategies to help you avoid holiday weight gain:
- Survey, then change your environment. Set yourself up for success by keeping junk food out of sight and out of mind. Clear the home and work environment, and if that’s not an option, distance yourself as much as possible from the polluted environment (i.e., stay out of the work break room)
- Don’t arrive to parties famished. Have a meal or light snack ahead of time so you won’t be physically hungry
- Wear your best belt or fitted clothes
- Fill up on crudités and vegetables (fiber)
- Don’t drink your calories. Sparkling water, unsweet tea and zero calorie, zero sugar beverages only
- Eat from a smaller plate. This has a profound psychological effect causing you to eat less
- Have some protein! Lean proteins such as boiled shrimp or grilled chicken help with satiety
- Don’t hang around the buffet table. Take the conversation in another room. Better yet, get outside or take a walk
- Distract your hands by drinking unsweet tea, seltzer water or club soda.
- Chew gum
- Just say no and practice being assertive
Finally, have the right mindset. What are your intentions when you attend parties and gatherings? Ultimately, each person is unique in regard to their goals and motivations. Attitude and “how” you eat is almost more important that “what” you will eat. If you’re intention is to lose weight during the holidays, that’s great. If you are dedicated and committed to this goal, you WILL lose weight during the holidays. If your goal is to maintain weight during the holidays, that is also noble. If you stay focused, you will avoid the holiday weight trap that so many Americans fall into. Above all, stay mindful and grateful.