So, it's November - aka "The Most Critical Time of the Year." Well, for me and any of you hoping to hold steady (or maybe even gain some ground) in that annoying battle with the bathroom scale. At this time every year I put the battle strategy into play, and get ready to come out victorious on New Year's. And just so you know, this plan is geared ENTIRELY around eating Holiday food, and avoiding goody-deprivation at all holiday food gatherings.
And it never fails me.
Just thought some of you might be interested.
I really should have posted this right after Halloween - since I always get things started at the beginning of November - but I was too busy not thinking about Halloween candy to organize my thoughts... But better late then never, right?
So, the plan. The strategy. It all revolves around advanced planning and preemptive striking. In other words, lose now, gain later, and it all comes out in the wash.
I know, I know, you're thinking, "Like it's that easy to just 'lose now.' If I could do that I already would have. Duh." But just hear me out. This is all about mind power, and is totally doable. I swear. Why? What magic formula will make it easier to lose this time? Motivation. Hanging before you every day from now to Christmas, are all those goodies. The feasts. The cookies. The party foods and appetizers constituting a meals worth of calories in a single bite. All the foods you know you'll want to eat, and should be able to eat because it's Christmas. Do you really want to be the one at the party saying "Well, that hot, steamy, overly cheesy, completely delicious looking, and divine tasting artichoke dip looks great, but I'm really just into celery right now,"???
Trust me. You can do this. You can do anything for a couple of weeks and a big piece of guiltless-pumpkin-cheesecake, right?
So here's the goal. Lose at least two (solid, meaning more than just water weight) pounds before Thanksgiving, and then again before Christmas. And here's the plan to accomplish it.
1. Pick your most favorite eating time of the day and leave it alone (meaning, eat as usual, no suffering necessary). You love breakfast? Fine. Lunch? Fine. Dinner? Evening snack? No problem. All of them? Pick one. And no complaining - it won't work if you're not willing to suffer at least a tiny bit.
2. Look at your two remaining meals, and usual snacks, and start sacrificing. Cut them in half, substitute with healthy/low-fat/low-carb/low-sugar/smaller portion/or-what-ever-it-is-that-works-for-you meals, grit your teeth, think about your favorite holiday treat and how you will guiltlessly consume a second helping, and bear it.
3. Add an extra gimmick just to kick start things. For instance, this year mine is "turn down one thing every day." Sounds so small, but I've given up an ice cream sundae (with LOADS of toppings, all you can eat), brownies (the plural because you know I wouldn't have stopped at just one), pastries, my late-night handful of milk chocolate chips, and a few other things just this week. Other years I've ditched sweet-treats altogether, or eaten one salad a day - whatever. Just pick some small thing and be strict. No cheating allowed.
4. If you have a party to attend, eat light all day to make up for it. (And don't go totally overboard when you get there. It's not Christmas YET). If you have to make goodies, go ahead and have some, but set your limit before they're done, stick to it, and get them out of the house fast. If someone brings you treats, eat them. Then skip dinner. (Well, that's what I do, but I suppose I shouldn't try to sell you on such obviously not-healthy strategies. But it does work...)
5. Look in the mirror at least three times a day (no complaining, if you've read this blog before you TOTALLY knew this would be part of the plan) and tell yourself you're going to be a skinny babe by Christmas.
6. Exercise is extra-credit.
7. When the morning of the big day comes (first Thanksgiving, then Christmas), save your calories up. For instance, have an apple for breakfast. Eat a pile of lettuce for lunch.
8. At the actual event? Enjoy yourself. Eat up. Gain back those two pounds all in one sitting if you want - you earned it. (Or, not. Besides, like you can gain two pounds of actual fat in one sitting. I personally believe one meal never hurt anybody).
I would just like to bear my testimony that everyone should get to eat at Christmas dinner without "watching what they eat." I also believe that gorging on good food for the entire holiday season is going over the top, and should be considered a diet-sin. I know that every woman has at least four weeks of solid diet-self-control in her - especially when the reward is turkey gravy, Christmas croisants, and chocolate trifle. I also know that my little battle strategy works for me, and will work for anyone who undertakes it with real intent. Losing two pounds is really not an impossible task. And you'll thank yourself on New Year's. In the name of Holiday Food, amen.