I will put it out there right now that I don't expect ANYONE to lose weight during the holidays. If you do, it's likely a sign you were depriving yourself. I understand the desire though: you've been working super hard all year to take the pounds off or you have a trip planned where you'll have to sport a bathing suit.
I suggest taking a different approach. Just try not to gain weight during the holidays or gain less than usual. You can always go back to your plan after the holidays. Here are some simple tips to help you along:
1) Don't save your calories for the party. Not eating all day and then eating a lot can spell disaster for your moderate intake. When we are ravenous from not eating all day, we tend to over eat, making up for the calories missed. We also tend to pick the less healthy foods when too hungry.
2) At parties, avoid snacking at the buffet table and put foods on a plate. If you can see how much you are eating, it'll be easier to gauge when to stop. Ignorance equals over eating.
3) Ask yourself is it worth the calories and how much do I need to be happy. Think of it like a credit card. You have a credit limit and if you go over you'll be charged (weight gain). Ask yourself is it's worth charging to your credit card. Will it make you happy? Do you even like it? How much would you need to be happy? Most people only remember the first and last bite of anything they eat and if you're not enjoying it that much, you might want to save your calories for something you'd enjoy more.
4) Where you stand at a party may determine how much you eat. If you are closer to the food, you'll be more likely to pick at it. If there is a buffet table with snacks on it, try sitting further away so you'll be less likely to graze.
5) Using the plate method can help you eat more balanced. Aim for 1/2 your plate vegetables, 1/4 starch (dressing, potato, bread) and 1/4 protein (meat, beans, eggs). If you always apply this to your plate, it will help you to fill up on the healthier choices while still eating some of the things you love.
6) Tame the food pusher. We all know one. The person who always offers you seconds, thirds, fourths and has this great way of making you feel guilty if you say no. Here is how to disarm them. 1) Serve yourself if you can. 2) Take less than you think you'll eat 3) Take seconds, also a smaller portion 4) Tell the food pusher how delicious it was and thank them for making it. This will make them feel good and they'll be happy to see you took seconds.
7) Be sure to stay active. Get out of the house during the holidays to keep healthy. Go skating at the local rink, go sledding with the kids or even go for a walk through the snow or local lights display. Every little bit helps.
8) Mind your beverages. Many of us can drink as many calories as we eat. Enjoy a glass of wine with dinner or even the occasional cup of cocoa or eggnog, but be aware that they can contribute to weight gain. Be sure to include calorie free beverages like water.
9) Slow down! Seeing our favourite foods all in one place can get even the calmest person excited. The problem is, if you eat too fast, you may not give your stomach time to check in and tell your you're full. It takes about 20 minutes for this to happen so slow do your pace a little and it may help you control your portions. It's also a way to savour your meal. Can you honestly taste those mashed potatoes when you inhale them in a matter of minutes or even seconds?
Most importantly enjoy the holidays. Enjoy the food, your friends and family. It's a time to celebrate and you shouldn't be burdened with stress about your weight. Just make a few mindful changes to keep your weight down and enjoy the rest.