Holiday and Party Strategies

First, if you don’t care about gaining those usual 5 holiday pounds, do not read any further! I believe this is a legitimate option … Enjoy your holiday with abandon and come see me in January! If, on the other hand, you’d like some ideas for at least maintaining your health and weight this season, read on…

“The social butterflies among us are very fortunate in some ways. You’re often out and about, meeting new friends and entertaining old friends at home. Life is full. Life is grand!” says Katherine in Diet Simple.

“But then there’s the little (or not so little) issue of weight. And what about your hard-won health gains: your lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood glucose? The increased energy level you’re enjoying so much? The beautiful clothes you’re finally able to fit into (remember telling me how fun  it was to shop in your own closet?)? All that hard work! Festivities can put a dent in even the staunchest and most determined health-gain and weight-loss resolve. Just about every party, after all, revolves around food… Fattening, delicious food, studies show, we’re naturally attracted to. Just thinking about all the calories can make me feel heavier!” says Katherine in Diet Simple.

Parties and holidays are a time for celebating life and for bringing families and friends together. No one’s perfect, and it seems almost antisocial to obsess over your weight when everyone around you is having such a great time. Still parties present a lot of opportunities for overindulging. Even if you’ve managed to master the daily routines of physical activity, eating in moderation and so on, parties and holidays don’t come around that often. Which means we don’t have as much practice reconciling social obligations and our natural attraction to fattening and delicious foods with our desire to maintain the same waist size.

Parties are not – I repeat NOT – only about food. They should not even be mainly about food. Not convinced? Well, take a minute to make an inventory of the things that matter to you – that really touch your heart around special occasions and holidays. Here are some of the thing that I and my clients have decided are important:

*Beautiful holiday decorations and music,
*Showing kindness to others and making sacrifices for those less fortunate,
*Getting together with friends and family you rarely have time for,
*Observing religious significance of holidays,
*Attending holiday plays and concerts,
*Free time for special exhibits, ice skating and skiing,
*Volunteering at the local homeless shelter.
*Looking your best and feeling confident and energetic.

Even without knowing you personally, I can say with some confidence that your list of priorities is probably pretty similar. Do we think about food when we go to parties or celebrate the holidays? Of course, but there is so much more! More tips on prioritizing…

Tips for Celebrating from Diet Simple…

* Prioritize what is most important to you about the holiday (see list above!),

* Remember, the “holidays” are only 3 days, NOT every day between Thanksgiving and New Year,

* Plan your holiday eating carefully. Savor and enjoy to the fullest every bite … every calorie,

* Prioritize your high calorie items. Choose three of your favorite holiday foods and allow yourself to  enjoy them. Don’t waste calories by sampling everything,

* Prioritize your parties. Choose one or two of your favorite parties during the week and allow yourself to indulge at them.  Eat before going to the other parties. If you indulge at, say, all five parties you’re invited  to in one week, you may gain more weight than you would feel comfortable with,

* ALWAYS eat normally and on time the day of the party … Don’t starve yourself during the day so that you  irrationally overeat everything in sight once you get there,

* Eat a snack just before arriving at your party,

* Once you’ve arrived at the party, grab some sparkling water and wait at least 30 minutes before making a  food choice. This gives you time to relax, get comfortable in your surroundings and to scope out the food  offerings rationally,

* Location! Location! Location! Position yourself away from the food table. Focus on conversation, not eating,

* ALWAYS follow the “Mindful Eating Techniques” … Before eating anything, take the food to a table, sit  down, take three or four deep breaths, relax, focus full attention on the food while you are eating. If you  want to talk with someone, put the food down and talk. When you want to eat, put your full attention on the eating. Notice the point at which you feel comfortable not full. As soon as you are comfortable, stop  eating. Enjoy and savor every bite. Don’t waste any calorie by not paying attention to what you are eating,

* When you are in control of the party, try new healthy recipes to serve your family or guests. You’ll be  surprised how much this is appreciated,

* Anticipate situations and plan your strategy ahead of time,

* Before the event, visualize yourself using your planned strategies and leaving the party successful,

* Reward yourself for handling the situations as you planned,

* Leftovers are what put weight on. Splurge on the holiday, then get back to normal eating asap.

* Keep up your regular physical activity, even increase it if you can (and why not since your on vacation?), to offset the extra calories.

* Just say no!

Do’s and Don’ts for Holiday Buffets

excerpted from one of Katherine’s SHAPE Magazine articles

Been invited to a holiday buffet? Don’t panic! I’ve surveyed the trendiest holiday buffets to come up with a list of dos and don’ts so you don’t leave the party stuffed with 2,000 calories beneath your belt and 2 pounds heavier the next morning. Which reminds me: This is not the time to be shy, so wear confining clothing. There’s nothing like a death grip around your waist to remind you it’s time to leave the Swedish meatballs behind and start mingling.

Read closely. You may be shocked to find that even if you stick with all the “dos” on my list, your calories will probably top anything you’d be eating at home with your standard 600 calorie dinner. So, be picky. Don’t waste calories when you can enjoy yourself flirting… or caroling!

1. DO! Add sparkling water and a twist of lime to your two ounces of white wine. It’s only 40 calories!

DON’T! Get started with several glasses of wine at 100 calories each!

2. DO! Start with healthy crudites: dip carrot and celery strips – or any other veggies – in salsa!

(each dipped finger-sized veggie stick is about 7 to 10 calories and no fat)

DON’T! Start with chips and dip. Did you know that each dipped chip could set you back 25 calories and 2 grams of fat?? (was that about 10 that you just gulped down in 2 minutes flat?)

3. DO! Savor Smoked Salmon on a whole grain cracker (about 35 calories and 2 grams of fat for 1/2 ounce of salmon and one cracker)

DON’T! Dig into the crispy and creamy appetizers. Bet you didn’t know that tiny egg roll packs in 200 calories and 10 grams of fat! The cheese and crackers? You jest! Each tiny slab (1/2 ounce) of cheese with a Town House cracker is 65 calories and 6 grams of fat

4. DO! Take the edge off your appetite with the filling yet spicy Minestrone or Vegetable Soup at 150 calories and 2 grams of fat per 8-ounce bowl.

DON’T! Fill your bowl with the Seafood Bisque. It’ll pack on 300 calories and 10 grams of fat per 8-ounce bowl.
5. DO! Partake in the chicken or shrimp skewers; the calories and saturated fat are minimal.

DON’T! Nibble on buffalo wings. Your calories will be flying into the stratosphere with those wings – at 100 calories and 7 grams of fat each – and that’s before frying and dipping (add 50 each)!
6. DO! Start with a fresh salad. Heap your plate with fresh, young greens, sliced tomatoes and onions (25 calories at the most) Top with 1 Tbsp of vinaigrette (50 – 75 calories, 5 – 9 grams fat)

DON’T! Start with garlic bread (200 calories for two small slices)

7. DO! Head for the Turkey Carving Station. Enjoy 3 ounces of sliced turkey (imagine a deck of cards). The protein hit will take the edge off your appetite for just 105 calories and 3 grams fat.

DON’T! Head for the Prime Rib Carving Station. It’ll set you back 300 calories and 24 grams of fat.

8. DO! Walk on the Wild Side with a Side of Wild Rice! Only 80 calories and 1 gram of fat per 1/2 cup serving

DON’T! Stuff yourself with Stuffing! About 120 calories and 5 grams of fat per 1/2 cup serving

9. DO! Pile on the Grilled Vegetables like red peppers, mushrooms, and zucchini. They’re only 25 calories per 1/2 cup serving

DON’T! Get creamed with the Creamed Spinach. The cream and butter adds 150 calories to the measly 25 for the spinach

10. DO! Spoon up sorbet. It’s cool, it’s refreshing – It’s only 100 calories and zero fat per 1/2 cup.

DON’T! Spoon up the Haagen Daz! It’s 250 calories and 20 grams of fat per 1/2 cup

11. DO! Indulge in a sliver of pumpkin pie. It’s creamy deliciousness is relatively abstemious at 300 calories and 14 grams of fat for 1/8 of a 9” pie

DON’T! Indulge in a sliver of pecan pie. It’ll set you back 500 calories and 27 grams of fat!

12. DO! try a meringue cookie or ginger snap. They’re only about 30 calories a piece

DON’T! grab a chocolate chip cookie with nuts. Even a tiny one is 120 calories.

13. DO! Enjoy hot herbal tea as a night cap to help you sleep (zero calories, zero fat!)

DON’T! Indulge in a brandy. It’s 160 calories for just a 1-1/2 ounce jigger – and that’s before the cream!

Isn’t your priority looking and feeling your best?

Some Lighter alternatives for holiday cookies…

Call Katherine: 202-833-0353 or Email Her
For more fabulous tips and simple, effective ways to lose weight,
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