I know countless diet books, gurus and weight loss know-it-alls say this a lot. Let me say it again:
“Fail to plan- plan to fail.”
Kristina M sent me some food for thought through my writers block comment form, and this one was pretty timely. She says:
With the holidays, a lot of people are thinking of ways to make their dishes lighter, healthier. I'm sure lots of people will want to know what your plan is, and tips of what we can all do.
With the time change this past weekend, the smell of cinnamon scented pinecones and the heaters cranked up, I know the holidays are around the corner. Holidays or not, the number one rule for me staying on track with my eating is being prepared. It's amazing how a little bit of planning can save you from falling into a spiral of calorie over-consumption.
Whether it's the holidays or an everyday social occasion, planning is key. This past weekend I had an in-law function where there would be spaghetti and meatballs involved. Being a low-carbing pasta freak, this sent up red flags all over the place. I had to suit up and prepare for war. (Ok, that's a little dramatic, but you know what I mean.) I'll share what I did to help avoid my face in a bowl full of pasta.
5 tips for avoiding everyday (or holiday) diet meltdowns:
- Study the battle field. You want as much information on the situation as possible so you can avoid landmines. What is being served? Can you eat any of it? Who will be there (any emotional triggers)? Figure out how much you need to do beforehand to try to anticipate stumbling blocks when the time comes to sit down for the meal.
- Bring the ammunition. You would never go into battle without ammunition, right? Once you have studied the battle field (figured out what the food situation is), bring whatever you need to in order to keep yourself satisfied. Worried about being rude to your host? Don't be. Feel free to explain beforehand that you have some dietary restrictions and explain how you might bring your own meal so they won't have to fuss over you. This past weekend, since I knew they were having spaghetti with meatballs, I decided to prepare spaghetti squash with vodka cream sauce and Italian sausage. I still got my Italian food fix, without the guilt.
- Alert the troops. This might be a personal quip of mine, but I like to tell my husband or friends about my plan for making it through the event. In my mind, if I *think* they're watching me, then I behave better. They also have been known to give a gentle reminder if I'm about to lick the cake icing off someones plate. Give people permission to hold you up if you start to fall.
- Remember your mission. This past weekend, there was a monster cake. I didn't anticipate the cake. I didn't plan for the cake. OMG, the cake smelled SO GOOD. I had to put myself in time out. Literally. I sat far away from the cake and reminded myself of my gym workout earlier in the day. About my upcoming weigh in on Monday. I repeated “You're making a choice” over and over. And I chose to skip cake. When I got home, I allowed myself 1 bite size low carb, sugar free candy. It curbed my craving for sweet, and didn't derail me like the cake would have.
- Cleanup if necessary. It's not always easy. Sometimes you fall into the cake. Sometimes you decide to stuff yourself with stuffing. It happens. Do everyone a favor and skip the shame spiral, and just do something about it. Go for a walk or jog. Add in an extra workout during the following week. Cut back your next meal to a smaller portion. Fix it and forget it. Don't cry over pumpkin pie.
I'm not saying every social outing or holiday has to be a battle. Sometimes you will plan to indulge in moderation, and that's perfectly acceptable (in my opinion). No matter what you do, just balance your actions out. If you really are going to be miserable because you passed up the butter pecan ice cream, then have a little and work out harder afterwords. Nothing is irreversible.
How do you prepare to continue your healthy lifestyle during the holidays?