The holidays are a great time to spend time with loved ones and to celebrate everything you’ve accomplished during the year. But the weeks between now and New Year’s Day can also be a minefield if you’re on a diet. Office parties, tins packed with tempting homemade cookies, big holiday dinners, extra stress and little time left to exercise all make it very hard to stick to your healthy plan.
Always eat a good breakfast. If you start out the day hungry, it’s twice as easy to justify grabbing that cookie on your way to a meeting. Keep good snacks on hand all day—fiber keeps you full and more satisfied than a candy bar ever will.
If you know you’re going to a party, eat a light lunch to save some calories for later. But don’t starve yourself or slash calories. That is bad for your body and can make you think it’s OK to eat too much later on.
VIDEO: Dr. Mike Moreno tells how to stay motivated to exercise during the winter
Don’t eat standing up. Even at a buffet, find a place to sit down so you can concentrate on what you are eating. Make eating be about nourishing your body and enjoying the taste of the foods you’ve chosen, not about getting as many things on your plate and in your mouth just because you’re at a party. And when you’ve eaten, you’re done. No going back for seconds or thirds. No grazing, either!
Let yourself have a treat or two—foods exclusive to this time of year are special (peppermint bark, we’re looking at you), so let yourself have a taste. But don’t trick yourself into thinking the doughnut with red icing and green sprinkles is special. Something that you can eat any time of year is not something you should waste your calories on. Think about how much you’ve done so far to achieve your weight loss: Do you really want to throw it away on a little ole doughnut with a different shade of frosting?
Manage your alcohol consumption. Everyone loves a drink or two at the company party or holiday dinner, but remember that each gram of alcohol has 7 calories—and many sweet holiday cocktails can pack as many as 500 calories. Alcohol also stimulates your appetite and lowers your resistance to snacking. When there’s alcohol in your system, your liver has to work overtime to process it, meaning it doesn’t have adequate time to process fat. Sip sparkling water with lemon, lime, or even a splash of fruit juice. Iced green tea can also be very festive this time of year.
Keep moving. Even if you are traveling for the holidays, find a way to work out. Exercise helps rev your metabolism and burn calories, but it also helps reduce stress and strengthens your focus—things you need more of in a busy holiday season.
To help you a little this holiday, here’s a delicious recipe for homemade frozen yogurt from the upcoming 17 Day Diet Cookbook, out in March. This is good for all cycles of the 17 Day Diet.
Berry Frozen Yogurt
Yes, you get to eat ice cream on the 17 Day Diet, and homemade, too. This frozen yogurt is every bit as delectable as that which you’d find in a yogurt shop.
3 cups mixed berries, preferably 1 cup blackberries, 1 cup raspberries, and 1 cup blueberries
1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoons Truvia
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Cover and process until smooth, turning off the machine and scraping down the inside of the container once or twice. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
2. Freeze in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
YIELD: 4 servings
TIP: Use frozen mixed berries. Thaw and use them with their juices.