For millennia, survival depended upon storing up extra fat for the winter. With all of our biology geared up for weight gain, how do you get through the holidays without packing on an additional five to ten pounds? It's not as hard as you think. And won’t it feel great to start the New Year free of the usual girth that so many people resolve to get rid of in January?
First, be prepared. You can’t eat healthy foods if you don’t have any. Stock your home with delicious, low glycemic choices. They’ll be on hand when you crave something in the late afternoon. And you can easily prepare something healthy if guests arrive. Likewise, put them in a place that is easily visible. If you see an orange when you open the fridge, you’re less likely to eat the leftover pie.
Second, eat everything with enjoyment and mindfulness—slowly, sensually, and sitting down. It takes 15-20 minutes for your stomach to get the “I'm full” signal, so eating slowly keeps you from eating too much. Sometimes you just have to eat a chocolate brownie, and that’s OK! Eat it with gusto and in plain sight, savoring each bite.
What you eat in the morning sets your blood sugar for the next 12 hours. Start your day with some protein, healthy fat, and low glycemic carbohydrates. For great breakfasts and other meal choices, see Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom.
Before you give into those cravings, set a timer for 15 minutes. Distract yourself by decluttering a little area of your house or taking a bath. You can hold off for 15 minutes, I promise. And it feels great when you do. But, if after that you still desire the snack, have it! It will calm that hungry, tired, little child inside you.
Don't eat after 8:00 p.m. Studies have shown that when you consume most of your caloric intake earlier in the day, you will feel more satisfied and less likely to binge at night. The same amount of calories consumed late at night will put on weight. Consumed earlier, they will not.
Weigh yourself every day. The minute the scale moves up two pounds, cut back for a day or two until you are back to your regular weight. Quite frankly, regular monitoring of your weight—and adjustment of your diet if you start to gain—is the most practical advice I can give you. When you record your daily weights, you’re less tempted to over-indulge. And you will never again say, “I don't know where that extra 10 pounds came from.”
Finally, remember—discipline simply means remembering what you REALLY want. Write that on a Post-it note and put it on the fridge.
p.s. My favorite low glycemic snacks are: 1) gluten free crackers and hummus or baba ganoush (roasted eggplant dip). I love the brand “Mary's Gone Crackers,” 2) apples, cut up and dipped in peanut butter or almond butter, 3) guacamole with organic chips or carrot or celery sticks. Try “Wholly Guacamole,” a widely-available frozen delight.