How to Beat the Holiday Weight Gain Odds
From 'food pushers' to parties that tempt your senses, here's how to overcome holiday diet temptations.
Making a Plan to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain continued...
Instead, he says, you have to have a coping plan.
In research published recently in the journal Behavior Research and
Therapy, doctors found that dieters who tried to control their appetites
using avoidance strategies were at greater risk for overeating than those who
developed coping skills to control their overeating.
Among the strategies that work best is positive self-talk, with the help of
appetite "flash cards," says Judith Beck, PhD, clinical
associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania at
Philadelphia and author of TheBeck Diet Solution.
"Part of the Beck Solution is to make a list of every good reason why
you want to lose weight, and read it to yourself every morning -- and when you
are tempted to eat something you hadn't planned, just read it again, so you're
constantly reminding yourself why it's worth it to turn down food," she
She believes you have to rehearse your reasons for wanting to be thin, the
same way you rehearse the speech you give your boss when asking for a raise or
the pep talk you give yourself before any challenging situation.
"You have to condition yourself and change your mind-set about what food
means to you," says Beck.
Muller says this method works well for those who are "thinkers" and
do well with a script. For those who are more spur-of-the-moment, "see it
and eat it" types, a technique called "mindful eating" may work
best, she says.
"So often, overeating is connected to a primitive, emotional place
inside us, and we just mindlessly start eating," says Muller. "So one
of the strategies would be to cultivate mindfulness: Keep bringing yourself
back to the here and now, notice what's in your hand, notice what's on your
plate, and pay attention to what you are eating."
Huberman says you can also go party-by-party, with a plan for each event:
"You can limit the number of dishes you will eat, limit how much you will
eat at each course, limit yourself to the three foods you absolutely love the
most. The key is to put parameters around how much you will consume, and then
stick to your plan."