Relieve Stress continued...
Because you may feel under a lot of stress, it's easy to overeat at home too. Here, it pays to challenge some of your basic assumptions. For instance, just because you've always done it, do you have to bake six dozen sugar cookies this year? If you have them around the house, you'll eat them. Bake fewer or give some away.
Several group members found themselves in a quandary about what to serve at their parties, worrying that their guests would only enjoy rich foods and eggnog. But it's perfectly acceptable to modify recipes, using lower-fat options, or to offer a variety of choices.
"When I have a party, I can control the kinds of foods offered," says Barchowsky. "Obviously, I'm not going to invite my friends over and give them only low-fat, low-calorie foods. I'll serve cookies too." And share the wealth: Give calorie-laden leftovers to guests as they leave, instead of packing them into the refrigerator, where they'll be tough to resist.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Every week, try to have as many "normal" days — when you eat healthy foods and exercise — as possible. While a workout can't compensate for overeating, it does help stabilize weight and gives you a psychological boost too. Of course, it's frequently the first thing to be eliminated from a busy schedule. "Write your exercise time in your weekly planner and consider it as absolute," says Bartlett, who also suggests tapping into what may be a hidden resource, namely, your family.
If you have a weight problem, family members may not know how to help. It's up to you to figure out your vulnerabilities and strengths — and communicate them.
Weight specialist Susan Bartlett suggests the following ways to keep your caloric count in check at a big event:
- Don't arrive hungry; eat something before you go.
- Pass up peanuts, pretzels, chips, and other everyday snacks. Spend your calories on the special treats you really want.
- Wear a form-fitting outfit, with a belt if possible.
- Make socializing, rather than food, the focus of the event.
- Keep your portions in check — to keep calories under control.
- Plan how much alcohol you'll drink. It loosens your inhibitions and contributes to calorie consumption.
- Don't stand near the buffet table. In fact, keep your back to it, so you won't even see it!
- Make a deal with yourself that you will learn something new about someone you don't know at the party.
- Wear a special piece of jewelry — a sparkly bangle or big ring — as a visible reminder to yourself to eat in moderation.
- Practice saying "no, thank you." It's okay to turn down invitations or tell a pushy host you don't want seconds.