Tips to Avoid Holiday Diet Busters


By Wensdy Von Buskirk for Pure Barre


’Tis the season of temptation.

The five-week span from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve brings an endless array of opportunities to overindulge. Keeping up with your Pure Barre schedule is a great foundation for staying healthy, but it also takes amping up your willpower.

The key is to change your mind set, according to Healthy Living Mentor Lisa Lewtan of Healthy, Happy, and Hip. Here, Lewtan, who practices at Pure Barre Newton and Pure Barre Wellesley, shares advice on avoiding holiday diet busters:

Gear Up: Don’t wait for the holiday itself to start eating cleaner. Prepare in advance as if you were training for a marathon. Clean up your diet now so your body remembers that it likes to feel healthy.

Craft a Plan: Look at season as a whole and pinpoint all the holiday parties, family dinners and hosting duties you have scheduled. Consider your triggers, like sweets, alcohol or your grandma’s stuffing and mashed potatoes. Then, plan how you’re going to handle each event. Maybe you’ll have a couple drinks at one and your favorite dessert at another. Decide before you walk in the door.

Don’t Skip Meals: On the day of an event, you might be tempted to skip meals and ‘save up’ calories. That’s a bad idea that will only leave you hungry, cranky and more apt to overindulge. If you arrive starving chances are you’ll inhale calorie-rich hors d’oeuvres or down too many drinks that go straight to your head. Instead, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch the day of the party and have a snack before you go. That way you can pace yourself and make better choices.

Make the Rounds: When you arrive at an event, look at all the food first. Browse the buffet and check out the dessert table so you can adjust your plan. If you don’t normally eat a certain food, don’t take it just because it’s there. Only choose things you really love. Keep an eye out for lighter options like fruit, veggies and salad. If you’re worried you won’t find healthy fare, bring a favorite dish with you.

Pump Yourself Up: Come up with a favorite mantra you can repeat when weakness sets in, like “just two drinks tonight,” or “food will be here tomorrow so I don’t need to eat it all today.”

Redirect Your Focus: Of course there’s more to the holidays than eating. Focus on the people who are coming together, and the love, gratitude and great conversation that you share.

Find a Friend: Sit next to the healthiest person in the room. We’re influenced by what those around us are eating, and you’ll make better choices simply by association.

Eat Mindfully: Love pecan pie? Don’t just pick at it when no one’s watching. Instead, make a conscious choice to have a piece and truly enjoy it. Help yourself to one slice, sit down and savor every bite. You’ll be more satisfied and less likely to overeat. When you’re done, don’t beat yourself up about it. Own your choice without shame.

Clear Your Plate: As soon as you feel full bring your plate to the kitchen and get rid of it so you’re not tempted to go back for more.

Stay Hydrated: Many times we mistake thirst for hunger, so drink lots of water. Add ice when you can. Have a glass of water between each alcoholic drink and before dessert. If you’re hosting make big pitchers of water readily available everywhere.

Host Healthy: If you’re doing the cooking, don’t deliberately set yourself up for torture. You’re not obligated to make foods that will derail you just because it’s tradition. Honor yourself by serving healthier versions of traditional favorites. Let’s face it, nobody wants to gain weight during the holidays or leave your house feeling sick. Don’t think of cooking lighter as depriving your loved ones, but giving them the gift of health. They likely won’t even notice you skimped on the butter and cream, and may even ask for your quinoa stuffing recipe!

Set Limits: Remember each holiday is one day. If you have leftovers give yourself permission to throw them away without feeling guilty.

Forgive Yourself: Don’t look at one indulgence as having blown it for the entire season. An all-or-nothing attitude will only undermine your hard-earned efforts. There’s always tomorrow, a fresh start and the new year!