"Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success."
A 10-Point Plan for Holiday Diet Success
Give your body something to cheer about
By Steve Edwards
Good ole "holiday
cheer" doesn't always leave you feeling cheerful, especially when you can't
fit into your little black dress for New Year's Eve.
Here's a simple 10-step plan to make your New Year's something to celebrate.
Let's start with the big picture and then count down towards a healthy 2006.
||Visualize. Your first step won't take long. In
fact, do it right now, before reading step 9. Close your eyes for a moment
and visualize yourself in a place you want to be sometime next year. This is a
fantasy, so make it a good one. Imagine looking and feeling a way you've always
dreamed of. Now hold on to that vision.
||Target an event for next year. Think of something to focus on as a
day for looking and/or feeling and/or performing your best. It can be anything
from a class reunion to a triathlon to a trip to Cancun. Your goal is to find something to
look forward to that will motivate you to improve between now and then.
Plan a training program. Begin by finding a monthly calendar and figure out
how much time you have until your event. Next, make a loose training program.
You don't have to decide exactly what to do right now.
Maybe start with progress you'd like to make each month leading to the event.
Then either pick an exercise program (or series of programs) that will help you
achieve your goals over that time.
Be realistic. It might be difficult for you to focus on
exercise and diet through the holidays, so you might want to schedule yourself
a bit of flexibility for now. At this point, your aim is to plant a seed in
your mind to keep you focused on a bigger goal as you go through the holidays.
This little extra bit of motivation will be enough to keep your holidays from
becoming one long binge.
||Better to give than to receive. It's time to get busy. You've
planted an image of success in your mind and on paper. Now you've got to get
practical. Just how are you supposed to stick with an exercise program when
temptation looms around every corner? Start by becoming proactive about the
season. Become a giver. Instead of letting the holiday festivities come to you,
where you'll have little control over them, plan them yourself. Organize your
Thanksgiving dinner, help out with the company Christmas party, or plan your
friends' New Year's get-together. If you're the organizer, you have a lot of
control over the relative healthiness of the event. You must be reasonable, of
course. You won't get the gig again if you turn Thanksgiving dinner into a tofu-and-broccoli Zenfest, but being in charge allows you
to make healthy options available. Plus, you'll be busy, allowing less time for
||Learn to cook. The easiest way to eat healthy is to cook food yourself
because you know exactly what's in it. There is a wealth of information out
there about healthy cooking. Once you start, you might find it easier than you
ever thought to cook decadent yet healthy meals.
||Plan to snack. Let's face it, over the next month your workplace is going
to be filled with temptation. Willpower alone might not be enough. Since the
easiest way to avoid these things is to be full, plan to snack throughout your
day. Head to the market and fill your cart with healthy snacking options like
fruit and raw veggies. Okay, this probably sounds boring, but these foods are
loaded with fiber, fill you up, and have very few calories. A large apple has
about the same number of calories as a tiny square of chocolate. By forcing
yourself to munch on fruits and veggies all day, your stomach will be full and
you'll be far less likely to dig into the Christmas cookies. And if/when you
do, it will be far, far easier not to overdo it.
||Drink water all day long. To ensure that your stomach stays
full, drink a glass of water an hour during work when temptation lingers. This
will not only keep you from becoming famished, it will keep you hydrated, which
will also help reduce the effects of that après-work holiday cheer, alcohol.
||Rise and shine! Begin each day with a few minutes devoted to yourself. Lie in bed, breathe, visualize, and contemplate
your goals. By focusing each morning on something that you really want, you'll
get out of bed with a better outlook on the day. You'll then be more apt to
make positive choices throughout the day.
How to eat your holiday meals. You're almost certainly going to
overeat, but here are a few rules you can follow to stack the odds in favor of
- Drink a large glass of water 30 minutes prior to the meal.
- Begin with a salad. Go light on the dressing, and eat as much as you can. You
probably see a pattern from the office but, again, water and fiber are going to
fill space in your stomach and make it much harder to overeat.
- Don't be shy. These meals were meant to be social and the more you talk and listen, the
less you'll eat. Have you ever had a meal where you've been so involved in a
conversation that you've forgotten to eat? Try making it a goal.
What to do when you've "blown it." Because at
some point we all do. And you know what? It just doesn't matter. If we
were perfect, life would be boring, right? Anyway, one day isn't going to hurt
you. What you need to avoid is one day turning into two, then three, and so on.
So on those days you've regressed, try this nighttime
ritual that will have those little gaps of willpower vanquished before you wake
- Have a cup of herbal tea or drink
a glass of water before bed. Herbal tea is great. It's both hydrating and calming. If
you've been drinking alcohol and fear a hangover, take vitamins and drink some
electrolytes (P90X® Peak Recovery Formula works well). Don't worry
about calories at this point. Offsetting the effects of alcohol is more
important. Most hangover effects are from dehydration and lack of sleep. You
need nutrients and water to fight them off.
- Stretch. A few minutes of slow and easy
stretching will relax you and begin your recovery process from that day's activities.
A scant two minutes is a million times better than no minutes.
- Relax and reflect. Lie in bed, focus
on relaxed breathing, and take a minute to reflect on yourself, your future,
and then let it go. Don't think too much. You don't want to get excited because
you might lose your ability to sleep. You just want to center your thoughts and
get them away from your negative associations of "blowing it."
Tomorrow, as Miss Scarlett says, is another day.
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5 Ways to Get More Fat-Fighting Fiber
By Monica Ciociola
Fiber's much more than just a way to stay regular. It also helps us lose weight by making us feel satisfied and keeping unhealthy cravings at bay. The U.S. Department of Health recommends a dietary fiber intake of 20 to 35 grams per day, but the average American is only getting about half that amount. Blame all of today's overprocessed and refined foods.
So I'd like to propose that people everywhere start their day with a tall glass of golden, delicious Metamucil. Well, actually, no. Unlike our parents' generation, we can get all the benefits of Metamucil without paying the chalky, gritty costs. Here are five easy, pleasant, and painless ways to add more fat-fighting fiber to your diet:
- Breakfast. Choose the regular, slow-cooking kind of oatmeal over most cereal. Beware of
cereals labeled "crunchy" or "frosted" or that have sugar
listed as the first ingredient. If you do start your day with cereal, look for
whole grain as the first ingredient: whole wheat, whole oats, or rye.
- Fruits. Go
for the whole fruit instead of fruit juice; not only is it more satisfying, it
contains all the beneficial fiber that's left behind when juice is extracted
from the whole fruit.
- Breads. Choose 100% whole grain breads with at least 3 grams of fiber instead of
processed, refined bread.
- Side dishes. It's better to pay up for high-fiber, nutrient-rich brown rice instead of
settling for processed, refined white rice.
- Snacking. Raw fruits and veggies are best; but nuts and seeds are
also loaded with fiber and will leave you feeling satisfied, though they're
high in calories and fat, so watch your portions. Stay away from potato chips,
cookies, and candy, all of which have little nutritional value and won't fill
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