Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Surviving the holidays on a diet

I'm getting married in a few months, and won't be able to wait until after the holidays to kickstart my diet if I want to look at svelte as possible in my corset-style dress.

So... I decided to start watching my weight the week of Thanksgiving and while I will be cooking cakes/cookies/treats for visitors and attending parties, here are some helpful hints I have found to help fight off temptation. (And for those hostessing parties, this may be helpful in knowing which options to offer for those dedicated souls who are trying to watch their waistline)
  • Work out now. Don't wait for the hordes of people to hit the gym on January 1st. Get a head start. 
  • If you splurge with food, commit to work off that amount of calories. It may surprise you how long you'll have to work out in order to work off something, which may make you reconsider. (Some splurges, however, are absolutely worth sweating off).
  • Track your food. (CalorieKing.com, myfitnesspal.com, etc). It's inconvenient and can be downright depressing... but it makes a huge difference. This may be eyeopening, especially if you eat out often. I found that some of the things I thought were healthy were absolutely not.
  • Use an app if you're into using your phone for that sort of thing. I find it makes it more fun if I use gadgets. RunKeeper.com is great for tracking walks/runs, etc.
  • Know how to substitute. I use applesauce in baking instead of fats. I replace sugar at times and no one ever asks.
  • Freeze extra cookie dough and only bake up what you need at a time. Side benefit: you have extra fresh baked cookies on hand that you can whip out in 15 minutes.
  • Not everyone can eat sugary gifts. If I know someone can't, I do homemade bath bombs or salts as an alternative to cookies, homemade truffles or marshmallows. I'm also the one bringing veggies/fruit/pickle-olive plates to holiday work parties.... and it always disappears quickly amidst the cookies and sweets.
Before you go out:
  • Fill up first on a protein shake or a healthy mini-meal before you leave home, so you're not starving when faced with an array of cookies or cheese dips
  • Drink a full glass of water before hitting the snack buffet
  • Know what a real portion size looks like, and then stick to it
  • If it's a potluck, or you know the hostess well... ask to bring a healthy alternative you know you can eat even if all of the other options are not viable
  • Have a protein bar tucked into your purse in case you run low on energy while shopping or out with friends.
  • Know where the hidden calories are: cranberry relish is my absolutely favorite holiday dish but I have to be careful, because there is a lot of sugars not-so-hidden in there. Apple cider has more sugar than you might expect, too. 
  • Know what alcoholic drinks can be made low calorie for when you go out. 
  • If you plan on splurging.... splurging on one item is easier to recover from indulging yourself the entire evening. 
  • Working out in advance of the event helps alleviate any guilt from the occasional indulgence. 
Probably the least *fun* article you'll read this month, but in my case, a much needed one :)


  1. Many thanks for this...a much needed reminder.

  2. Tomorrow of course I am planning to post about getting your pantry stocked for the holiday baking. I think I might go and add a section on healthy substitutes because of your post. :)

  3. My favorite substitution is switching out zucchini for apples and splenda for sugar in a mock apple crisp that people love.

    I debated on writing this but I do think there's so much focus on baking and richness in seasonal treats (eggnog/cookies/holiday feasts/hot buttered rums) that trying to eat healthy is an afterthought, and it *can* be done. But it takes effort, and sometimes planning in advance.

    1. I think it was a great topic to write about.

      Something else that is rarely thought about is people with food allergies. My sister-in-law has celiacs, 2 friends I got together with this morning mentioned their husbands have it too, and another friend is allergic to dairy. I always try to be mindful of the treats I send to their houses. Or when we are all together making sure I have things on our table that they can eat and feel fulfilled.



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