Holidays and Special Events

1. Plan Ahead

2. Eat Before you Go

3. Eat Only Special Foods

4. Be the Slowest Eater

5. Keep a Proper Perspective

Holidays, parties and special occasions can be a problem because eating is encouraged. Not only is temptation around, but everyone else is eating, the food is good, there may be social pressure to “try some of this” and it is natural to “let go” when celebrating. The trick is to be prepared and to avoid the anxiety that comes from trying to lose weight and also celebrate at the same time.

One common mistake is for people to vow to eat nothing at the event. This is a real set-up because they either feel guilty when they eat or feel deprived when they don’t. You can enjoy yourself and still stick to your plan. Here are some suggestions to help you have fun and still control your eating:

Plan ahead. Think about the event before you go. Try to anticipate the food that you will face and the actions of other people. Think about your cravings and the external pressures from others. Have a general idea of what you will eat. You can call ahead and ask what will be served. You can make a tentative list of what you will eat and add up the calories. How does it fit with your day’s calorie goal?

Eat something before you go. Don’t go starved to a special event. Everything will look good and you will forget that you only want to sample special foods. Have a salad, carrot sticks, cauliflower, or other low calorie food before you go.

Eat only Special Foods. Stay away from the potato chips, crackers, dip, nuts, bread and other foods that are available at any time. Use the occasion to sample new foods or foods that you rarely have. Remember to make the best use of your calories.

Be the Slowest Eater. Keep your eyes on others and be the slowest eater at the event. Be the last to start and the last to finish. You will enjoy the food that much more and will feel satisfied with your smaller portions.  Pay attention to the texture, smell and subtleties of taste. This way you will avoid the rapid and automatic eating that leads to eating so many calories.

Keep a Proper Perspective. If you do eat more than you intended, keep a positive attitude. Don’t turn an event into more that it really is: it’s just another day with meals and calories. In the scheme of a month or year’s worth of eating, what can one day mean? One day’s indiscretion should not ruin any plan. There are plenty of formerly overweight people who occasionally overdo it. Their trick is to bounce back. As  stated before, your reaction to the eating is more important than the eating itself. Your attitudes are central to your ability to control your eating both during and after the event.

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