Our expert Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, MA, RD, author of The SuperFoods Rx Diet, is the nutrition adviser at The Golden Door spa and co-owns Bazilian's Health Clinic in San Diego with her husband, Jason.
Bazilian knows it's possible not just to maintain your weight, but to drop pounds at the holidays. "I had a client who started a diet on November 1. She was motivated, and she decided if there was ever a time to do it, it was now. Over the course of a year, she lost more than 60 pounds," Bazilian says. "There are always hurdles and obstacles. If you get through the holidays, you can get through anything. You're off and running at resolution time." Here are Bazlilian's top tips.
Holiday Weight Gain Isn't Inevitable. "The holiday season isn't as dire as we expect. Not everyone gains 5-7 pounds as the media suggests. One study showed that while people do tend to gain weight in the fall, it's only 1.2 pounds on average."
Don't Let One Day Undo You. "If you're on a resizing mission, remember that no single day will undo your diet. Overeating on Christmas or at one party won't get you into trouble. It's the incremental and cumulative things that bring us down."
Have A Game Plan, Then Be Flexible. "Your template for everyday meal plan should have wonderful portions. You know extras will happen at a party, so you plan for those. You can actually look forward to simple, clean, light days of eating. Bookend the days you eat extra with days of really healthful eating, and think of how good it makes you feel."
Add Some Bells and Whistles. "Resist the urge to stop getting on the scale. Try using stickers or a special calendar to emphasizes the importance of your eating and exercise plan. Keep a food diary."
Take Time for Yourself. "Carve out a little time every day to regroup. People are so time-starved. Set an intention in the morning, then take a minute at the end of the day to celebrate what you've done well. Pause in the afternoon with a cup of tea. A lot of people get derailed with their eating around five o'clock. Claim it as your time."
Walk After Meals. "If you're tempted to skip exercising, after each mealtime, take a five minute walk. If you do that after each meal, it can really help you mentally regroup. Figuring 100 steps a minute, if you walk seven minutes three times a day, that's a mile. Walk a lap of the mall before you start shopping."
Put Down the Plate. "At a party, if you heap a plate with desserts, realize that doesn't mean you have to eat them all. You can put the plate down and start over with smaller portions. Drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol."
Wear Fitted Clothes. "Choose belted outfits and avoid elastic waists. It's a good reminder to keep your portions small."
Treat Yourself To a Good-Health Day. "People come to The Golden Door to launch a healthy eating and exercise plan. You can do a spa day or a spa afternoon that is health focused. It feels so good to invest in yourself. You don't want to let yourself down. Remember, you're giving yourself the gift of health."