10 Step Plan for Healthy
Holiday Diet Success Give your body something to
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"holiday cheer" between Thanksgiving and New Year's doesn't always leave you
feeling cheerful, especially when you start packing on some unwanted pounds.
Here's a simple 10 step plan to make your healthy holiday something to
celebrate. Let's start with the big picture and then count down the steps to
create a healthy new year.
||Visualize. Your first step won't take long. In
fact, do it right now, before reading step 9. Close your eyes for a moment and
visualize yourself in a place you want to be sometime next year. This is a
fantasy, so make it a good one. Imagine looking and feeling a way you've always
dreamed of. Now hold on to that vision.
||Target an event for next year. Think of
something to focus on as a day for looking and/or feeling and/or performing
your best. It can be anything from a class reunion to a triathlon to a trip to
Cancun. Your goal is to find something to look forward to that will motivate
you to improve between now and then.
training program. Begin by finding a monthly calendar and figure out how
much time you have until your event. Next, make a loose training program. You
don't have to decide exactly what to do right now. Maybe start with progress
you'd like to make each month leading to the event. Then either pick an
exercise program (or series of programs) that will help you achieve your goals
over that time.
Be realistic. It might be difficult for you to focus
on exercise and diet through the holidays, so you might want to schedule
yourself a bit of flexibility for now. At this point, your aim is to plant a
seed in your mind to keep you focused on a bigger goal as you go through the
holidays. This little extra bit of motivation will be enough to keep your
holidays from becoming one long binge.
give than to receive. It's time to get busy. You've planted an image of
success in your mind and on paper. Now you've got to get practical. Just how
are you supposed to stick with an exercise program when temptation looms around
every corner? Start by becoming proactive about the season. Become a giver.
Instead of letting the holiday festivities come to you, where you'll have
little control over them, plan them yourself. Organize your Thanksgiving
dinner, help out with the company Christmas party, or plan your friends' New
Year's get-together. If you're the organizer, you have a lot of control over
the relative healthiness of the event. You must be reasonable, of course. You
won't get the gig again if you turn Thanksgiving dinner into a
tofu-and-broccoli Zenfest, but being in charge allows you to make healthy
options available. Plus, you'll be busy, allowing less time for
||Learn to cook. The easiest way to eat healthy is to
cook food yourself because you know exactly what's in it. There is a wealth of
information out there about healthy cooking. Once you start, you might find it
easier than you ever thought to cook decadent yet healthy meals. For example,
check out these Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving to get you
||Plan to snack.
Let's face it, over the next month your workplace is going to be filled with
temptation. Willpower alone might not be enough. Since the easiest way to avoid
these things is to be full, plan to snack throughout your day. Head to the
market and fill your cart with healthy snacking options like fruit and raw
veggies. Okay, this probably sounds boring, but these foods are loaded with
fiber, fill you up, and have very few calories. A large apple has about the
same number of calories as a tiny square of chocolate. By forcing yourself to
munch on fruits and veggies all day, your stomach will be full and you'll be
far less likely to dig into the Christmas cookies. And if/when you do, it will
be far, far easier not to overdo it.
water all day long. To ensure that your stomach stays full, drink a glass
of water an hour during work when temptation lingers. This will not only keep
you from becoming famished, it will keep you hydrated, which will also help
reduce the effects of that après-work holiday cheer, alcohol.
shine! Begin each day with a few minutes devoted to yourself. Lie in bed,
breathe, visualize, and contemplate your goals. By focusing each morning on
something that you really want, you'll get out of bed with a better outlook on
the day. You'll then be more apt to make positive choices throughout the day.
Better yet, try this five-minute morning ritual.
How to eat
your holiday meals. You're almost certainly going to overeat, but here are
a few rules you can follow to stack the odds in favor of your figure:
- Drink a
large glass of water 30 minutes prior to the meal.
with a salad. Go light on the dressing, and eat as much as you can. You
probably see a pattern from the office but, again, water and fiber are going to
fill space in your stomach and make it much harder to overeat.
- Don't be
shy. These meals were meant to be social and the more you talk and
listen, the less you'll eat. Have you ever had a meal where you've been so
involved in a conversation that you've forgotten to eat? Try making it a
What to do
when you've "blown it." Because at some point we all do. And you know what?
It just doesn't matter. If we were perfect, life would be boring, right?
Anyway, one day isn't going to hurt you. What you need to avoid is one day
turning into two, then three, and so on. So on those days you've regressed, try
this nighttime ritual that will have those little gaps of willpower vanquished
before you wake up:
- Have a
cup of herbal tea or drink a glass of water before bed. Herbal tea is
great. It's both hydrating and calming. If you've been drinking alcohol and
fear a hangover, take vitamins and drink some electrolytes Don't worry about
calories at this point. Offsetting the effects of alcohol is more important.
Most hangover effects are from dehydration and lack of sleep. You need
nutrients and water to fight them off.
- Stretch. A few minutes of slow and easy
stretching will relax you and begin your recovery process from that day's
activities. A scant two minutes is a million times better than no minutes.
and reflect. Lie in bed, focus on relaxed breathing, and take a minute
to reflect on yourself, your future, and then let it go. Don't think too much.
You don't want to get excited because you might lose your ability to sleep. You
just want to center your thoughts and get them away from your negative
associations of "blowing it." Tomorrow, as Miss Scarlett says, is another
I'm Rich Dafter - full time dad, life-long runner, Team
Beachbody Coach and Polar Global Ambassador. By the Grace of God, I have been
able to raise my kids working from home by helping people get healthier, fitter
and have better quality of life with free coaching.