Two holidays down and two more to go! Do you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed out this time of year?

Hi, this is Eunice from the Diet Center. Pressures and emotions can be overwhelming during the holidays. Where weight loss and weight management are concerned one should set realistic goals. Start with identifying any high-risk situations that may lead to you sabotaging yourself. For example, dont fool yourself with the one time wont hurt me attitude, which can cause you to get off track. Also, doubting your ability to stay on track can increase the length and degree of a slip. Dont rationalize high-fat choices by justifying them as relief for holiday stress. Avoid intense thoughts of how good something will taste, which may lead to falling victim to instant self-gratification.

Heres how you can prevent self-sabotage in these situations:

First, focus on the personal benefits of weight loss or weight maintenance and the negative effects of giving in like weight gain and self-blame. Next, prepare before the holidays. Write down patterns of behavior and thoughts that have proved to be obstacles for you in the past. List details of the pitfalls you may face. Then plan how you will manage these situations. Make your holiday goals small, behavioral, and controllable. For example, I will choose the lower fat items and only make one trip to the buffet table.

Practice self – monitoring. Monitoring your eating behaviors and weight will keep you aware of the results of your actions. A little preparation can provide the ammunition you need to truly enjoy the holiday season.

Another good way to plan ahead is to plan your meals and have a grocery list that supports those meal plans. Researchers have found that individuals who have definite meal plans and grocery lists keep more nutritious food in their homes. Also that they have more control over unnecessary snacking and perceive fewer barriers in regards to weight loss. The study looked at groups that had structured meal plans and grocery lists; and groups that had structured meal plans and foods in appropriate portion sizes. The study showed that structured meals and grocery lists improved outcomes.

Researchers concluded that people who are given meal plans and keep grocery lists develop more regular eating habits, consume less snacks, and store healthier foods in their homes like fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and low-calorie entrees. Therefore, completing a grocery list in conjunction with your Diet Center or other weight loss program may help with your weight loss progress! Make a positive change in your lifestyle by using grocery lists with your meal plan to effectively manage your eating habits.

Recipe Makeovers and Holiday Journals:

During the holidays, there are many special recipes that you may want to use. Whether they are special family recipes or from a magazine; you can make them over to be healthier and without much change in flavor.

It is simple to modify recipes. Look at the ingredients and pick out the high fat, high-calorie ingredients. Make a list of these ingredients and their amounts. In a second column start listing substitutions. For example, instead of sugar use a non-calorie sugar substitute. If your recipe calls for a cup of sugar using non-calorie sweetener will save around 960 calories. Instead of whole eggs use egg substitute, or egg whites. Usually cup of egg substitute or 2 egg whites are equal to 1 whole egg. For butter or oil, you can reduce the amounts up to half of what the recipe calls for. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of oil and you cut that in half that will save 1,080 calories. Also try using nonfat yogurt or mashed bananas in place of oil or butter. Cocoa powder can be used instead of baking chocolate. Just use 3-tbsp. and 2-tsp. water for each ounce of baking chocolate.
Simpler changes you can make include using skim milk versus whole milk, evaporated skim milk instead of heavy cream, reduced fat cheese or nonfat sour cream instead of regular versions. Try low-sodium broth and add flavor with more herbs and spices. Also reduce portion sizes (make smaller cookies, cut smaller squares of brownies, make mini muffins).

Even one or two of the above changes can significantly make your recipes more nutritious and lower in calories and fat!

Consider keeping a food journal. I know that you are probably thinking, The last thing I want to do is write down what I eat. Keeping a food journal is an important behavior to maintain during the holidays. It will help keep you honest with yourself. For example, you may say to yourself that you only had one cookie, so a piece of chocolate wont hurt me. However, your journal reflects that you already had a piece of pie. This may help encourage you to pass on the candy bowl.

Maintaining your journal will help identify weak areas that you can improve to prevent future slips. Maybe youll find that you tend to sneak extra calories while youre preparing holiday treats. You may want to consider purchasing treats, or passing on the tradition to someone else. Maybe youll find that you snacked on extra items whenever you felt stress from entertaining family and friends. You may want to try taking a walk, or take time to sit and relax to soothing music.

Maintain your food journals even during hectic holidays. It can help you stay aware of your eating behaviors, so that you will be aware of when and what you are eating.

Thank you for reading the Diet Centers tip of the week. Please be careful not to take the attitude that I will just get through the end of the year and then make changes. That could mean a 6 to 12-pound weight gain. Please call me today at 928-753-5066 or stop by 1848 Hope Ave in Kingman.