Monitor and Strategize
Firstly, it's important to monitor your weight and your eating habits throughout the holiday season. Continue to weigh yourself and check for any weight increases. Journaling will also keep your holiday food intake in check. It's much easier to control your weight if you watch your habits.
Most people feel like the holidays are their "time to be bad." But if you're really serious about losing weight, now is actually a great time to hire a registered dietitian. A health coach can help you strategize and take you straight through the season to help you enjoy holiday foods the right way without feeling deprived. And you'll be all set and ready to go when the New Year rolls around.
Locate Your Weaknesses and Work through Them
If you'd rather go it alone, you need to be totally honest and ask yourself where your extra calories are coming from every holiday season. Is it during Thanksgiving dinner? Is it the whole box of cookies you eat while helping the kids write a letter to Santa? Could it be the rum cake or homemade divinity you get yearly from family and friends? Candy bowls at the desks of business associates? Maybe it's the parties?
After you figure out where the problem(s) are coming from, then you're halfway there. If it's Thanksgiving dinner, ask the host what will be served and figure out ahead of time what and how much you should eat. If vegetables will be lacking, stuff yourself with low calorie veggies before you go to the dinner so you'll eat less of the rich stuff.
If Aunt Gloria or Brother Bill are sending you pecan pralines, canned popcorn or assorted boxes of chocolates, then it's time to have a talk with them. Tell them that you appreciate the gesture, but you would rather they send healthier options. If this makes you uncomfortable, see if any local food banks will take the gifts, or you can re-gift them to family or friends.
And if you're hosting a party, or you're asked to bring something to a party, keep in mind that there are many healthy versions of familiar holiday recipes out there online.
If you stay strong and smart over the next couple of months, you might find that you are so successful at keeping the pounds off that you head into January a few pounds lighter.
Catherine S. Hains, MS RD CLT has been interested in health and nutrition since she was a young child. Growing up in Fort Worth, TX, she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Texas Christian University and wrote for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for 12 years. Her life-long interest in nutrition and disease prevention never waned, and she went on to earn her Master's Degree in Nutrition from Eastern Michigan University. Cathy, now a Registered Dietitian, owns Lighthouse Nutrition and Wellness in Gig Harbor, WA where she enjoys inspiring people of all ages to make losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle easy, fun and permanent. She enjoys good food, cooking and food preparation, and showing others how healthy this can be. Her other pastimes include traveling, art, music and family life. She also likes staying fit with tennis, bicycling walking and jogging, researching nutrition and helping clients be at their best. For more information on Cathy, visit www.lighthouse-nutrition.com or write to Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.