7 Ways to Stick With Your Goals Through The Holidays

December 23, 2010

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holidays and dietingSome call the time between Halloween and New Year’s the “Diet Disaster Zone” – and for good reason. More than perhaps any other time of year, candy, cookies, and other high-calorie foods seem to be available at every turn.

But it is possible to remain true to your goals during this time. These are some of the things I suggest to my patients during the holidays to help them stay on track:

1. Remember that the holidays only come once a year. In fact, Christmas (or any single day) isn’t the cause of weight problems, it’s how one eats every day that is the cause. Follow the plan most days and you’ll be fine.

2. If you are going to a holiday party, save your calories. Eat filling but low-calorie foods before the event, so you can enjoy a few extra items without blowing your calorie budget for the day. But avoid not eating anything all day – that just sets you up to overeat. Think high bulk, low calorie.

3. Carry along healthy snacks. If you have some fruit, veggies, or a protein bar to eat if hunger strikes while you are on the go, you’re a lot less likely to turn to fast food or some other unhealthy choice as a solution.

4. Don’t give up on exercise because of the added busyness of the season. If anything, you need to be sure to stay active more than ever! The extra calories burned with exercise are a great counterbalance to a few extra snacks here and there this time of year. And remember, exercise keeps your metabolism going strong too, burning more calories 24/7.

5. If you do overeat, avoid playing the blame and shame game. Simply chalk it up to experience and get right back on track. Don’t let all or nothing thinking lead to going off your plan for several days, weeks, or even indefinitely just because you slip up one day.

6. Be prepared for cravings. Overeating or eating certain foods you haven’t enjoyed while on the plan can lead to more intense cravings for a day or two afterward. Expect this to be the case and be ready to recognize but resist. Just stick with your usual plan and the cravings will quickly pass.

7. Avoid depriving yourself. If there is some holiday food that you really want, go ahead and have it (in moderation). Depriving yourself can lead to feelings of resentment that then lead to rebellion against the plan. You’re much more likely to stick to your plan and your goals if you view them as your ally, not your enemy.

Happy Holidays!

Dr. Michael Kaplan

Founder and Chief Medical Officer

The Center for Medical Weight Loss

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