1. Prioritize. Make a deal with yourself: if there are some foods that you absolutely adore, guess what? You can have them. But only if you stay away from those bad-for-you foods that you only eat because they’re there. That means if you love sweets, don’t waste your calories on fried food or sugary cocktails, just eat a healthy dinner and then have the brownie you’ve been dying for. If French Fries are your thing, have them! But skip dessert. This way you won’t feel deprived, but are also less tempted to overindulge.
2. Keep yourself honest. Make sure you’re not fooling yourself about your food intake by tracking what you put in your mouth. Try writing down everything (absolutely everything!) that you eat or drink in a notebook or on your phone, or try one of the many calorie-tracking apps, like MyFitnessPal or MealSnap. Don’t obsess over the numbers; rather, use this raw data as a reality check and then adjust your fitness and nutrition plans accordingly.
3. Embrace “old man” drinks. Scotch on the rocks, a snifter of brandy, hot toddies. These rich and flavorful drinks will warm you from the inside out, and their bold intensity (no juices or mixers!) means you’ll have to sip, savor and go slow. Perfect for cozy winter gatherings, 1oz of these distinguished amber liquors will only cost you around 80 calories.
4. Prioritize sleep. People who are under-rested tend to feel hungrier and crave more carbs and sugars. So do yourself a favor and get some sleep — you’ve already got enough cards stacked against your diet this holiday season. Plus, you’ll have the extra energy to hit the gym!
5. Enlist daily motivation. It can be hard to remember why on earth you’re not having a second helping, and in those moments you need something to look at. Keep something in your wallet or phone that will remind you to be responsible. A picture of you in your bikini, a list of your goals, a screen shot of your dream wedding dress, or a quote that inspires you. Pull out your handheld motivation anytime you need a reminder!
6. Make eating a production. Don’t eat standing. Sit down to eat, no exceptions. And eat off a plate, not just a cocktail napkin. Better yet, eat off of a plate with a fork and knife. Make your food take a little work and a little time, and you’ll be far less likely to mindlessly consume unnecessary calories.
7. Fill your plate with 2/3 vegetables. This does not include potatoes, and it shouldn’t include corn either. Aim for this ratio at every meal, and you’ll get loads of nutrient-dense and fiber-rich veggies, which help keep you full, keep you regular, and keep you from reaching for bread. The remaining third of your plate should have high-quality fats and lean protein.