During the holidays, it is difficult to make good diet choices. What follows are several tools to allow you to make good choices and continue your weight loss progress (or at least maintain) when dietary temptation is everywhere. These tools are all going to do one thing: allow you to make decisions that result in low-calorie intake. That is the fundamental cause of weight loss. These tools are going to assist you in making these decisions by controlling your natural impulses to satiate your hunger by any means possible. Having the impulse control to not eat the food around you is difficult, so several of the tools will assist with that. The remainder will circumvent your impulse control by planning ahead to make sure that your eating is not impulsive.
Travel is tough. You might be stuck in an airport/airplane or car for ten hours with nothing but high priced, high-calorie food as an option. It doesn't have to be this way though. Plan ahead and make your own food and have it ready for when it's time to eat. Some foods tend to keep better than others: sandwiches, fruits, etc. Over time, you'll figure out which ones work better than others. For the longest time, if I knew I had a long trip ahead, I would just buy a half gallon of milk and some fruit. It was cheap and it worked. Dieting is a skill that you get better at the more you practice.
It is inevitable that you'll forget or be unable to plan meals ahead. You're rushing the kids out the door (already an hour late), you simply forget amongst the hundred other items you have to remember, or for some reason, you have unexpected travel. "Well, I have to eat right? I can't just starve myself." Of course not. There are two ways to handle this: go to a grocery store or get fast food. A grocery store doesn't need much explanation. Just buy non-perishable items that you might normally buy. Fast food, however, has a few tricks that basically all boil down to "grilled chicken, no mayo." Don't get a Big Mac. Don't get the fried chicken. Don't get cheese. Get a sandwich with grilled chicken and no mayo. Ketchup and mustard aren't awful, but in general, any "special sauce" or condiment is going to be high in fat. Some people also like to remove the top bun which works well, but I find it makes the sandwich logistically difficult to eat.
Eating order and speed
These are ordered for satiation and calorie content. Start with no calorie filler like salad or water (not bread). Then eat a meat (protein source) of some type. You can eat that with the vegetables concurrently. Finish the entirety of the meat and vegetables you want to eat, and only then move onto the starches and fattier foods like mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and stuffing. Before you even get into the starches and fat based foods, you will probably already be pretty full. If you really want dessert after all of this food, keep it small in quantity.
Along with the ordering of eating, eating slower, in general, will help. Your brain receives the 'full' feeling in response to chemical signals in the body. There is a delay associated with the inputs to this signaling. Eating slower will allow that delay to catch up, and you will feel fuller.
There's nothing wrong with partaking in a little alcohol during the holidays, but the more alcohol you drink, the less impulse control you'll have. Keeping this amount low (or having none) is a great way to keep your head clear and not give into your alcohol-addled impulses. Furthermore, many drinks are filled with carbs: think wine, beer, and cocktails. Picking simple mixed drinks with liquor is the best way to circumvent this. For example, straight whiskey or vodka and cranberry concentrate (with no added sugar). Or simply just drink a beer or glass of wine and not more.
Something you'll notice about all of these "holiday tools" is that there's nothing about them that are specific to the holidays. You can apply them to your daily life and get good results with them. Generally, though, these are common tools that are especially helpful during the holidays where temptation occurs the most.
If you're interested in more diet tips, check out my recent article on diet frameworks for surviving the holidays.
Email or call me anytime (989-488-3877), and I'll be more than happy to give you advice and answer any questions you might have at no cost. I want to help you achieve your fitness goals, and a conversation over the phone or through the internet is something I'm more than willing to do to help someone make their life better.