The following is a newsletter provides some more good tips on how to avoid weight gain during the busy holiday period. With the stress that comes at this time of year, the best thing we can do for ourselves is be mindful of our environment and triggers. Avoid falling into the trap of guilt, frustration and self-loathing…if you eat something that “wasn’t on program,” get right back to healthy food at the very next meal or snack. Realize that we should never forbid ourselves of treats or special occasions. Instead, if we can always balance these situations out with healthy food, we will keep our blood sugars more even and also prevent the scale from going up. Constantly remind yourself WHY you want to get back on track. Never give up your ultimate goal to be the healthiest you can be, ESPECIALLY during the holiday season!

Dr. Doug

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: Learn to Pre-Plan
(From: ASBP News – November & December issue)

Autumn flew by and December’s holiday parties can be dreaded activities for those watching their weight. Statistics indicate that most North Americans gain between one and ten pounds from Halloween to Valentine’s Day. The “anything goes” atmosphere coupled with an abundance of food leads to overeating. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Some careful pre-planning will allow you to establish, in your own mind, whether you want to continue losing, maintain your lost weight, or simply minimize weight gain. Perhaps maintaining weight is the most realistic goal for the holiday season.

Pre-planning involves thinking about (and deciding in advance) everything you are going to eat during an anticipated, troublesome eating situation. Pre-planning minimizes any last minute decisions you may face when confronted with choices about eating. In as much detail as possible, you must reserve time to think about the upcoming occurrence and decide not only what you are going to eat, but exactly how you are going to conduct yourself. Therefore, you do not have to rely on hoping that you will have enough “willpower” to control yourself. Willpower is never strong enough to overcome an overwhelming food cue.

By knowing in advance how you will conduct yourself and what you will eat (not what you will NOT eat, since you must plan positively), you will generate a feeling of self-control and self-confidence that will do wonders for your self-esteem. This is the best device to counteract the feelings of helplessness and guilt that accompany impulse eating.

Weight Maintenance and Pre-Planning

Your pre-planning should include some self-indulgence. If you attempt to avoid all deviation during the holidays you’re more likely to fall into the all-or-none trap, and overindulge without restraints after the first “mistake.” This method is best for persons who have trouble celebrating with others in non-eating ways. By pre-planning your deviations, you are less likely to feel a loss of control. The quality that separates a successful weight controller from the unsuccessful one is not perfection, but the ability to GET RIGHT BACK ON the weight control program, as soon as possible after the deviation.

In either instance, you will need to refocus your attention away from food and concentrate on the social aspects of the occasion. The important thing is to outline a definite strategy, in writing, prior to the holidays. Not only should you pre-plan everything you will eat and drink, but also how you will do it (eg. Location, position, time, speed of ingestion, etc). Your pre-planning should include the following behavioural techniques:

Cue Elimination – Avoid people that trigger the desire to eat, eg. People you may feel nervous or uncomfortable around; these people can drive you to eat.
Tuned-in Eating – Do nothing else when eating; focus on the act of chewing and swallowing.
Alternative Activity Strategies – Do something that makes it difficult or impossible to eat simultaneously, eg. Talking.
Plate-not-empty – Always leave something on your plate to replace the “clean your plate messages” that were programmed into your mind as a child.
Contingency Contracts – “If-then” agreements to help you stick to your plan. Eg. “If I stick to my diet plan at a party, then I will treat myself to a massage.”
Mental Programming – Thin about how you will overcome problems and obstacles. Examples include positive affirmations like “I eat healthy foods,” and mentally rehearsing the upcoming holiday party.
Exercise Regularly