Monday, November 25, 2013

Beating the Winter Weight Gain

I've talked a bit before about dieting and weight loss in the past when I was trying to get in shape for my wedding.  Since getting married, I've put about 5 of the 20 lbs. I lost back on.  Which in the space of the year isn't awesome, but isn't tragic either.  I always get nervous this time of the year, because I'm already susceptible to weight gain let alone when there are Little Debbie Christmas Tree cakes lurking at the register, the red Oreos are out, and those peppermint M&Ms haunt me everywhere....not to mention the dinners out with friends, increase in alcohol consumption, holiday dinners, and general lack of time to prepare a healthy meal.

So, I've been thinking about what my tactics are going to be this year during the "season of eating" (which for me begins Halloween and runs through Mr. 3's birthday which is January 15th - I never turn down birthday cake, even if it isn't my own).  My main goal is to just maintain the weight I'm at and let my standard January 1st New Year's Resolution (which is always to lose those last 15 lbs.) go into effect, but hopefully without the mass panic of saying I need to lose 15 lbs. PLUS all the weight I put on as I got merry with all my nearest and dearest.   I've heard all the tips and tricks that Weight Watchers and magazines like Self put out. Some are good, some don't do diddly for me.

My least favorite tip has to be the one about eating your dinner before you go to a party so you don't eat while you're at the party.  Um, news flash...I don't have to be hungry to eat a cookie or drink a pint of egg nog.  It's like jello...there's always room.  Plus, who wants to be the person who deprives themselves of all Christmas treats?  Um, not this Posh Purpose girl.

So, I've been thinking about what will work for me and hopefully these tips will help you too!  I told Briana about my article and she said I should promise to report back on the results in January.  Tricky cousin, wanting accountability.  BUT, I told her I was in.  While you will not be getting actual numbers, (Mr. 3 is a regular reader of this blog and some things should just remain a mystery in a marriage as far as I'm concerned) I will say whether I'm up, down (hahhahaha, good one!), or meeting my goal of just maintaining the weight I'm at now.  Here they are:

Posh Purpose's Kindly Suggestions on How to Still Fit in Your Pants Come January

1. Religious calorie counting on days you don't have parties/events - 1600 calories* and no more (I use an Android app called Fat Secret...horrible name, but decent app).  Weigh in daily to keep yourself honest.

2. Eat something healthy before a party - soup and salad if you have time or yogurt and nuts are both good options.  Although I don't believe in eating before you go to a party in order to not eat at the party is a good idea, I also don't think I want to have my blood sugar drop and find myself face first in a cheese platter either.  Been there, done that.

3. Eat 3-4 small servings of things you truly want to eat at the party - things that are special for Christmas time or you know are a specialty of the hosts....then don't eat them again at any other parties.  For example, I love egg nog, rum balls, and peppermint bark.  I could have a small cup of egg nog, 2-3 rum balls, and a piece of peppermint bark at a party.  At the next party, I would bypass these items and perhaps choose a scoop of hot crab dip, a small cup of apple cider, and a slice of pie.  Then bypass all of those items at any other parties.  Fill up on veggies and lean protein for the rest of your food selection.  Cold shrimp is a very good choice that you will often find this time of year.  My theory on this tip is that I will get to have all my favorite things without overloading my plate at each and every party.

4. Cut back on your everyday treats -  ex. if you are putting half and half in your coffee, switch to 2% for the next month.

5. Eat seafood at corporate events - My nutritionist once said that if you have to go into an event blind or without any ability to customize your food, go for fish.  Even if the fish is deep fried or sauteed in butter, the calorie count for fish starting out is lower than any of the other proteins.

6. Stick to wine or hard cider - Lots of taste, less calories than a mixed drink, classier than a shot, and no fat.

7. Plan out where you can eat when you are running errands or Christmas shopping now - For me, I know the meal combinations I can have at Chick-Fil-A (grilled chicken nuggets and small fry or spicy chicken sandwich - no bun - and small fry) and Panera Bread (bacon turkey bravo half sandwich and half salad or bowl of soup) which are readily accessible.  Other options for a sit down meal, are Olive Garden (soup, salad, and bread sticks) and Seasons 52 (no item on the menu is over 475 calories).  I would suggest looking at your local area where you plan on doing the most shopping and coming up with a game plan.  My nutritionist told me successful dieters have plans and people tend to gain weight the most when they are rushed for time and don't have a plan set in place.  That's how you wind up pulling through the Taco Bell line and ordering a burrito and two tacos with extra nacho sauce.

8. Add on 15 mins to your work out time or another workout a week.  If you can't do that, try to go for a walk at lunch during your work days.  Also, try and have a nice walk (so relaxing!) or jog (if you feel so inclined, I rarely do) on the major holidays - Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.  It will help you digest post-meal and it's a nice way to either spend time with family or get away from them (depending on your situation).

9. Take none and leave all - If you are having a party or hosting Christmas dinner, stock up on to-go containers.  If it's not healthy, it must go.  If you are attending a party, refuse to take anything.  You can "accidentally" leave it behind.  Whoopsies.

10. Plan a non-meal event for your girlfriend get togethers -  I usually go out to eat with my North Carolina girlfriends to exchange gifts and catch up.  This year, I will be suggesting coffee.  You can get a small drink (non-fat latte with cinnamon on top - caffeine & protein!) and if you can't stay away from the bakery case, split something with your friends. You'll save money and calories.  Other options would be to go bowling or ice skating.

11. Eat what you want on the main days - Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day.  Chances are you probably won't be eating more than one big meal each of those days.  Even if you are eating 2,500 calories, you are doing it all at once and not three times that day.  You should also be able to rebound from 1-2 days of poor's the week long time frame of Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve to New Year's Day that I've noticed really make an impact.  I also don't see the point in eating low-cal versions of traditional foods - pumpkin pie with splenda is just not the same and my father would disown me if I asked him to use something like agave in the cranberries.  If you must exercise some sort of self control or you are attending multiple meals in one day - fill up on whatever main protein there is (ham, turkey, etc.) and the healthiest side (usually green beans).  You can have small scoops of all your favorite things and only eat the best offerings at each meal if you are going to multiple places (i.e. if your Aunt Gertrude's sweet potatoes are better than your granny's...don't tell, but don't eat either).

12. Get back to your regular groove as soon as possible and don't beat yourself up - I think even with these tricks I'm going to try, I may still gain 1-3 lbs between now and the New Year...but that's much less to beat myself up about and far fewer pounds to work off compared to the 20 billion people who join the gym and take all the parking spots/machines post-holiday 15 lb. binge.  I'll just go back to my regular schedule - I hope without having to buy new pants.

These are just some things that I've thought up that I think are going to help me...I'll let you know in January how it all worked out.  If you've got any great tips, feel free to share them!!!

I wrote a status update December 16 - so far no weight gained! And on January 2, I announced that I survived the holiday season without gaining any weight! Check out that post to see which of my tips above I found useful and which ones I abandoned.

* I'm not a licensed professional, so you should consult your doctor before starting any nutrition plan or exercise program.

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