By Jenny Everett, SELF magazine
Like most American women, we're planning to start our New Year's Resolutions on January 1. But there is a small part of us that likes the idea of getting a jump on it -- and beginning our diet ASAP, pre-2011.
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However, after talking to diet and nutrition experts, it's clear that we're better off spending the next few weeks trying not to gain weight rather than attempting to lose a few pounds. With temptation all around us (hello, holiday cookies!), we'd just be setting ourselves up for frustration, which makes us less likely to have the motivation to meet our goals.
If you're on board with our holiday maintenance plan, check out these tips from a few very smart diet and nutrition gurus.
"It's never a good idea to allow oneself to eat with abandon in this land of abundance," says registered dietician Mary Hartley, director of nutrition for Calorie Count. "In fact, people who maintain healthy weights usually don't overeat at parties and special occasions. They don't look for excuses to overindulge, and try to keep it healthy every day. Their daily 'diet' doesn't have an end point -- it is simply the way they eat."
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Hartley recommends using the holidays as a time to practice being discriminating about which foods you choose to eat.
"Look at all of the options before selecting a favorite, take a reasonable portion and skip high-calorie foods that you don't actually love," she says. "Decide whether you really want breaded and fried food covered in sauce, cream, butter or cheese."
We love these three stay-slim holiday tricks from registered dieticians Stephanie Clarke and Willow Jarosh, contributing editors at SELF and co-founders of C&J Nutrition.
1. Brown bag your dinner. If you're out late running holiday errands, bring along a PB sandwich on whole wheat with an apple and a sprinkle of cinnamon, along with some sliced carrots. This is to keep your blood sugar in check, so you're less likely to be lured in by the hot buttery pretzels sold at the mall, or dive face-first into a pizza the minute you walk in the front door.
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2. Learn to love soup. As we've said on Healthy Self before, soup is a very effective way to make you feel full and satisfied without costing you mucho calories (people who have soup as an appetizer eat 20 percent fewer calories during their meal). Also, this time of year, the produce selection is a bit slim, so this is a good way to make sure you're getting your daily recommended allowance of veggies.
3. Eat a healthy, substantial breakfast. According to a study out of University of Kansas, eating a protein-packed breakfast helps you eat fewer calories throughout the day. In other words, you'll be armed and ready to resist the tempting holiday cookie platter at the office! Clarke and Jarosh recommend this smoothie: 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree, 1 banana, 2 tsp almond butter, 1/2 cup vanilla soy milk, 1/4 tsp pumpkin-pie spice and 5 ice cubes.
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One more tip: Imagine what you eat before you dive in. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University recently found that visualizing yourself eating an item before you actually take the first bite may make you less interested in, say, that bowl of red and green M&Ms.
How do you avoid temptation over the holidays?
More from SELF:
- Heidi Klum's Happy, Healthy Life
- 10 Ways to Lose Weight Like a Guy
- How to Destress with Yoga: How To Do A Sun Salutation
- The Workweek Diet
- Makeover your upper body now!
Photo Credit: Condé Nast Digital Studio