Anyone who has been on a diet has experienced the frustration of trying to maintain a weight-loss program over the holidays. Because food is the focus of many holiday celebrations, it can be a real challenge to a dieter’s willpower.
There is a way to approach holiday eating without sabotaging a weight-loss program. First, plan plenty of activities for which food is not the primary focus.
And, when food is an important part of the celebration, it helps to:
- change some traditional holiday habits;
- get help from family and friends;
- reduce the holiday stress that often leads to compulsive eating.
Changing some habits can keep a diet going without having to give up holiday treats altogether. For example, a person can make a list of favorite holiday foods and then pick two or three to enjoy this year.
Another technique is to eat holiday treats in smaller quantities, such as baking a small-size cake that the family will finish at one sitting, with no tempting leftovers. Or use low-calorie, low-fat substitutes for rich ingredients like sugar, butter or cream.
Whatever changes the dieter makes, it’s important to ask family members and friends to respect these choices and to refrain from tempting the dieter with other holiday goodies.
Sometimes the stress of the holidays causes people to eat more than usual. If that’s the case, it helps to seek out friends and family for support and to engage in activities that produce feelings of contentment or happiness.
For additional tips on reducing calories and fat during the holidays, or if you have specific medical concerns about your diet, consult your health-care provider for advice on maintaining a safe weight-loss program during the holiday season.