By Kimberly Delcoco
For The Tribune
Did you know the average American gains between 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas? Who’s up for not being average this holiday season?
As a former “diet of the moment” junkie, I can confidently say deprivation does not work for me and for most people. I remember back in the 1990s trying the low-to-no-carb diet and thinking, “If I eat one more chicken wing I am going to get sick.” I will tell you the way of eating that works for me is one that does not cut out entire food groups or condemn me for the occasional indulgence.
I have learned over the last 30 years since my first battle with weight gain a few things that help me manage and maintain a healthy weight. Here are a few strategies that will help you through the holidays and set you up for a jump start on the New Year. So many say, “I’ll start in January!” January comes around and nothing changes. You know what they say about that, “If nothing changes, nothing changes.”
One of the many blessings of being a life coach is getting to help people make more empowering choices. Our lives are made of those moment to moment choices. Make a decision today that this holiday season is going to be different. Make a decision you will not be the average American that gains 7-10 pounds. It is a choice. Your choice.
Healthy Habit 1: DRINK WATER
Some experts say to take your weight divide it and that is the amount of water you should consume. What we know for sure is that water fills you up, creates supple skin and keeps you hydrated. Drink 32 ounces right before that office party. Between feeling full and the potty breaks it will surely curb your appetite helping with portion control.
Healthy Habit 2: EAT HIGH VOLUME, LOW CALORIE FOODS
If you like to snack like I do this is especially important as having healthy munchies on hand will keep your hands out of the cookie jar. Think of foods like cauliflower, popcorn, etc. Basically any food that fills you up without loads of calories. Even healthy foods like nuts and avocado can be packed with calories and you will need to exercise portion control. These are a couple of examples of foods that are healthy and are calorie dense.
Healthy Habit 3: EAT THE CAKE
Budgeting for that piece of Red Velvet Cake you crave all year long is a good thing. There is no one or two pieces of cake that will add up to 7-10 pounds. When we deprive ourselves of the things we love we end up taking a deep dive into that can of cream cheese frosting and can I just tell you that is not very satisfying. However, having one piece of cake and savoring each bite — guilt free — is very liberating and goes miles on controlling your cravings.
I recently happed up on a quote from Winfrey who has openly shared her struggle with weight loss. We hear she is on a new journey that doesn’t include extremes and allows for a balanced diet. Here’s what she is contemplating, “I was fed up with my lose-and-gain-again routine,” Winfrey says. “I’d had enough of no-carb regimens. Some people can live without bread and pasta, but it just doesn’t make sense to me. All the times I tried to do so only made me crave them more.” Amen sister. We are cheering you on. Don’t be extreme. Create sustainable healthy habits.
Healthy Habit 4: FOOD JOURNAL
There is something about having to document what goes in our mouth that really makes you think about it and make a more intentional choice. You can go with the old fashion pen and notebook. There are many apps to use. I am currently using MyFitnessPal. It syncs with my FitBit which then adjusts my daily calorie allowance.
Healthy Habit 5: WEIGH WEEKLY
There is a lot of press against the scale and the word diet. They are in and of themselves not evil, the scale is just a measurement and diet is just a word that describes what we eat. Unfortunately, it is the meaning we put behind them and the years of beating ourselves up over the number on the scale that can become counter-productive. Let’s try to shift that. The number on the scale is not the enemy again it is what we are putting in our mouth’s that is either nourishing our body or adding to the number on the scale. The scale is like any other piece of equipment we use to evaluate our current condition and a tool to measure our progress or lack thereof. If we have heart problems we use a piece of equipment to show us the actual percent of blockage. If we want to know our level of health we can measure that by our blood sample. If we want to know the health of our heart we use equipment to perform a stress test. If the results are not favorable it doesn’t make the equipment bad. It just means we have some work to do to get heart healthy. We do not have to guess as we have tools that help measure accurately, allowing a proper diagnosis and course of action.
There is a doctor that I have recommended over the years to people struggling with healthy weight loss. His name is Dr. Mike Moreno. I recommend his ‘diet’ because it is a healthy, science based way of eating that not only results in weight loss but has proven to lower cholesterol, improve immune systems and the likes. Here is what he has to say about the scales, “Not too many people like to weigh themselves. Doctors know this. After a patients step on the scale, they think it is giving them the weight of a completely different person, like Hulk Hogan.” “But doctor’s scales do not lie.”
“Let’s talk about the scales for a moment. Your bathroom scale can be a top tool for losing weight. I know, some people say throw it out, but those people are naturally thin or possibly teach aerobics classes. They don’t need a scale.” I would add to that that some people say throw the scale out and they themselves are 20-50 pounds over a healthy weight. The old saying misery loves company holds true when it comes to weight. Surround yourself with people that want to know the truth and want to do something about it. Remember the scale is only a tool that reports how your food consumption is really doing. Facts are your friend.
Healthy Habit 6: BE SOCIAL AT PARTIES
First of all fill up on those high volume foods and water we talked about earlier. Second, focus on being social and having a couple of meaningful conversations with people you may only see once a year. This small shift in intention can be the number one solution for not just ‘getting through the party’ without eating a full week’s worth of calories. This has not only saved me in the healthy choices department but also encouraged real connection with people I might have just gone through the motions with as I was just thinking of getting that third plate of food. Instead now I am really present and interested in the conversation.
Healthy Habit 7: HAVE A HEALTHY HABIT TRIBE
When you’re trying to make sustainable change and breakthrough old defeating habits having your personal tribe ups the ante on accountability. The support you give each other when you fall down is priceless and just knowing you will have to report back after that party will help you make better choices. Statistics have shown that you have a 95 percent chance of hitting a goal when you have an appointment with someone that is going to ask you the tough question…”Did you do what you said you were going to do?” Having this healthy habit tribe makes being healthy fun through the camaraderie of shared goals. With technology there are fun and easy ways to stay connected daily via group texting, Facebook secret groups, FitBit challenges, MyFitnessPal community, etc.
Find a few committed friends and/or family members and get the healthy habit party started. Most people are struggling with making health a priority and welcome the inspiration. You will be surprised how many people will join you.
I hope these are helpful. As with most things there are many ways to do something. These are some habits that have helped me manage and maintain a healthy weight for 30 years now. I look forward to hearing how you did through the holidays.
Remember it is a choice. Your choice. Choose well.