Ghost of Binges Past
by: Dolletta Mitchell
Holidays and special events should be a time of great joy, but dieters customarily imagine these occasions with dread and horror. Why? Because celebrations are not celebrations without lots of high-calorie, tempting foods. Does this suggest that you have to become a social-scrooge to duck temptation? No. The “secret” is to create a survival “plan” ahead of time and stick to it throughout this holiday season.
“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" is a time worn and clichéd statement. But it's still wonderful success advice. Not only do most people fail to plan, they consciously plan to fail over the holidays.
Most people expect to "blow" their diet and miss workouts during the holidays. They expect to eat more, exercise less and gain weight. Instead of putting forth the effort by taking control, they resign themselves to maintenance at best or back-sliding at worst.
This negative expectancy leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy. By the first week of January, they're in the worst shape they've been in for a year and they frantically make New Year's resolutions to shed the excess fat they've gained. Is that your approach? Or, are you going to be strong and really make it all the way to the New Year without gaining weight?
Let’s revisit October with the ghost of binges past. Oktoberfest plus Halloween equaled a huge junk food binge for some of us. Oktoberfest and Halloween are over and done. Does that mean you are going to let the ghost of binges past turn you into a food scrooge? Are you going to pass up seasonal celebrations to avoid the fattening feasts?
Ho, Hum! How do you avoid turning into a miserable ol’ food scrooge?
First, get the Halloween candy out of your house. Take it far away. Okay, there are hungry children in third world countries, but you cannot lend a hand by eating everything in sight! Plus, feeding our sweet tooth is like watering a plant. It only makes the thing bigger, needing more the next time. Ho, Hum!
Wait! Look into your secret stashes and throw them in the trash with old coffee grounds and banana peel (so they won’t find their way back out again). Yes, get rid of the sweets in your desk.
If you empty out all the candy, and find that your house echoes because there’s nothing left in it, swap them with snacks such as unsalted nuts, fruits and vegetables.
Second, plan to tell friends and family to forego food gifts. If you still get them, thank the person, but later give the food away to someone else. This way, you won’t hurt the giver’s feelings and you will eliminate your temptation.
Third, manage your time. With hectic schedules, there never seems to be enough time to plan, eat, exercise, clean, shop, cook, and decorate. Sit down and write out daily schedules for the weeks before your events. Determine what you can reasonable do in specific time frames and then plan to do it. Manage to have a meal replacement when you are on the go. They are far more nutritious than a fast food meal and more convenient.
Fourth, plan to modify your recipes. You don’t have to give up traditional favorites – just modify them. For instance, make turkey stuffing low fat by sautéing onions and celery in broth in place of butter. Use sugar-free gelatin to slice calories in gelatin molds. Take a look at your recipes to see if you can eliminate or decrease some ingredients or use lower calorie substitutes.
Fifth, plan to leave the leftovers. Too often leftover food goes into your mouth instead of the storage container, even if you’re already stuffed. Give leftovers away, make packages for your guests to take with them, take food into work, or divide leftovers into portions to use with your diet plan.
Sixth, control your eating. The moment you arrive to a holiday gathering, check out the food and pick out a few “healthy” foods to eat and skip all the others. Eat slowly and savor every bite. So you don’t overeat, eating a meal replacement beforehand can help fill you up before you reach the holiday party table loaded with “once a year, you have to eat me treats.”
Seventh, a meal replacement is your answer if you’re like most people, and don’t’ have several hours a day to prepare healthy and nutritious meals. Study shows that people who replace several meals a week with portion-controlled foods, like liquid shakes or snack bars, lose significantly more weight in three months than folks who simple try to cut calories. What’s the secret of meal replacements? Meal replacements keep it simple. Forget counting carbs or calories!
So you see, you don’t have to fail to plan. You really can make it to New Years without gaining an ounce by including meal replacements in your diet. And, when you make it to New Years Day (and you have not gained weight), you will be free to avoid the parade of New Years dieters. Everyone else will be starting the latest fad, but you will be living your new lifestyle without deprivation dieting. Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.
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Dolletta Mitchell is a Health Advisor with Take Shape For Life, a subsidiary of
Medifast, Inc. She provides weight loss and disease prevention management solutions that have been recommended by over 15,000 physicians nationwide and used by more than 750,000 overweight customers. Dolletta caring and positive, encouraging attitude and knowledge about wellness issues is a part of why her program has been successful to so many.