How to Get Through the Holidays
Tips for surviving the holidays without sacrificing your weight-loss goals.
It's easy to underestimate the toll that the season takes — physically,
psychologically, and emotionally. To avoid gaining weight, you need commitment
and awareness. It's best to do this with a group of people — even one or two
friends or a close buddy — whom you can call upon to talk about eating
In Bartlett's group, members "got specific" when providing one another with
support, preparing strategies for potentially troublesome situations coming up
that week. For instance, how would someone manage her food intake with three
holiday parties in a row? When the group got together the following week,
they'd review how things had gone.
Identify Difficult Situations
One of the best outcomes of a calorie chat group is identifying the
situations that cause you to overindulge. Barbara Bohner, a 55-year-old
elementary-school guidance counselor, who has worked with Bartlett since last
December, has her own trick for getting through parties: "I eat raw vegetables
or a piece of fruit before I go out, so I have something in my stomach. I don't
drink any alcohol; instead, I try to hold a glass of sparkling water, so I feel
like I'm doing something with my hands. And I try to talk more than I eat.
Avoiding alcohol also appeals to Martha Barchowsky, a 43-year-old
businesswoman who has lost more than 100 pounds working with Bartlett. "Last
year I had a New Year's Eve party; I served everyone champagne to toast the
holiday, but I had sparkling water in my champagne flute. It's not the
champagne that matters; the real deal is that you're celebrating with your good
What if you've identified your red flags, but you don't heed them? Bohner
uses a quick test to put things in perspective. "I use a scale of zero to 10,
with zero being starving and 10 really stuffed. I write down how I felt when I
started eating and when I finished." When she goes over seven, she knows she
was eating to meet emotional needs rather than actual hunger. "There's no
reason to eat until you're stuffed," she adds.
Whatever method you choose, it's best to take stock and be honest with
yourself. If your goal is to exercise three times a week, how many sessions do
you miss before you admit you are slipping? Going to an event without a plan is
also a signal that you're not focusing on your eating.