Washington: Holiday season can bring a diet disaster for those who are struggling with their weight, as this is the time for special family meals, party buffets and free drinks.
Navigating the holidays can be stressful, said Jeffrey Gersten, PsyD, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital.
“Close family situations, the ready availability of trigger foods, such as cookies, kugels and candies, unhappy memories of past holidays – all add stress to make keeping your waistline in check a challenge,” he stated.
Dr. Gersten counsels weight-conscious patients at Gottlieb Memorial Hospital, where dozens have successfully lost, and are keeping off, as much as 100 pounds or more.
Here are Dr. Gersten’s top five tips to keep you from going overboard:
The Roadmap - You need more than just directions to the party, you need a plan for the entire occasion.
Identify your trigger foods – those that you know you will be unable to eat in a moderate portion” and avoid them completely, he said.
Provide yourself healthy options, such as bringing your own low-fat snacks to get-togethers.
“Don’t starve yourself either. Your blood sugar level will drop, creating a hunger that is unstoppable, which will lead to overeating usually high-calorie foods,” Dr. Gersten said.
Stick to eating three balanced meals, he suggested.
The Telltale Crumbs – Don’t polish off the entire carton of French onion dip and the bag of chips, or gobble the plate of cookies you received as a gift.
Give Yourself a Timeout - A walk in the neighbourhood to enjoy the decorations, playing a favorite seasonal CD or even just taking a deep breath are all ways to relax and shake off stress.
Friends, Through Thick and Thin - Talk to a friend, or fellow partygoer, about your desire to eat healthy.
“You can do it; they can help,” Dr. Gersten said. Enlist their aid in not encouraging you to “just try this” or guilt you into eating “my famous cake I slaved over for days.”
Maintain Utter Consciousness - Think about what you eat. Give yourself the five-minute rule. Stop eating for five minutes to see if you are really hungry or just bored, he said.