Prevent Holiday Binges

  • Think about how you want to feel on Jan. 2, says Judith S. Beck, author of the "The Complete Beck Diet for Life." Ask yourself, "'If I gain a lot of weight, how will I feel?' says Beck. "'If I gain a little bit of weight, how will I feel?'"
  • Rethink your goals. Rather than trying to lose weight over the holidays, work to maintain your current weight, said Madelyn Fernstrom, founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Weight Management Center.
  • Do away with all or nothing thinking. Many people feel they have two choices: stick to the diet or abandon it completely, said Beck. But there is a middle ground that is a lot healthier, said Beck, a cognitive therapist. Her example: 'I'm going to let myself eat 200 to 300 extra calories every single day for 10 days knowing that I probably will gain a little bit of weight, but also knowing that I'm feeling good that I'm staying in control and still eating in a healthy way.'
  • Don't think one indulgence has ruined your diet completely. Forgetting about a diet for a day is different than forgetting about it for a month, said Martin Binks, director of behavioral health at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center. If you pick a few days and have an extra piece of pie, you're not going to do that much damage, he said. But make sure free-for-all eating does not last until January.
  • Think about the purpose of the gathering. Is to be with friends and family or overeat? said Binks.
  • Observe other dieters. Compare yourself with people who are losing weight or maintaining weight loss, said Beck. Dieters often compare themselves to people who are not dieting and then feel resentful and deprived watching them eat, she said.
  • Be mindful of what you are eating. Pick and choose what you eat and drink carefully, and monitor your portions, said Fernstrom.
  • Find another coping mechanism for stress. "There are many people who don't eat when they are under stress," said Beck. "What do they do to cope?" If you feel entitled to eat because you are under a lot of stress, remind yourself that eating whatever you want and whenever you want is incompatible with goal of losing weight, she said.
Copyright AP - Associated Press
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