Ditch perfection to keep Yule pounds off

Have you ever tried to diet over the holidays? If you’ve ever tried it before, you know it has the potential to turn you into an absolute Grinch.

Have you ever tried to diet over the holidays?

If you’ve ever tried it before, you know it has the potential to turn you into an absolute Grinch.

Trying to anticipate what yummy hors d’oeuvres or delicious desserts will be served at an upcoming party so that you can look up their likely calorie load and calculate how many you can have (usually only one — and nothing but water to drink) is just no way to live during this festive season.

On the other hand, if you throw caution entirely to the wind, you could end up on Jan. 2 with more than just a few extra pounds to lose.

So what’s the trick to keeping unwanted pounds from creeping on over the holidays? Try putting a few of the little Buttoned Up principles to work.

Sarah on “Don’t Go Cold Turkey”

I tried to stick to a diet last year, and it was just miserable. I was trying to get rid of those pregnancy pounds, so I had completely cut out starch.

That works like a charm, but is very hard to do and makes me rather, shall we say, un-festive.

I have a soft spot for cookies, which of course are in abundance this time of year. Every time I got within a stone’s throw of those yummies I couldn’t eat, I’d end up with, to borrow a few words from Dr. Seuss, crummies in my tummy. I made it through the holiday gauntlet without gaining a pound, but I swore I would never do that to myself again.

This year I am allowing myself cookies, as long as I do a few other things, like exercising four times a week, to keep my waistline in check.”

Alicia on “Have a Plan”

The sure-fire way to end up on New Year’s Day with a tougher weight-loss resolution than you would have expected is to head into the next few weeks without a real plan for staying on target.

As with anything, a little planning and organization goes a long way. Take a few minutes today to sketch out your plan. You’ll be happy that you did.

Enjoy holiday treats without packing on the pounds by applying three Buttoned Up principles.

1. Ditch Perfection — There is simply no such thing as a perfect diet going into the holidays. There are going to be things that you’re happy to pass up one moment and not the next.

There will also be things that you never want to pass up. So don’t. Instead, give yourself a three-pound flex. Weigh yourself every day, and if you find yourself tipping the scales at more than three pounds above your baseline, rein it in and eat salads for a day or two and work out extra hard.

It’s so much easier to deal with a three-pound gain than a 10- or 15-pound one.

2. Focus on the Few Things That Really Matter — You have to remember that you don’t have to do everything to keep yourself in check, just the one or two things that really work.

Try always drinking a glass of water before meals or parties to make yourself feel fuller, and exercising at least four days a week — no excuses.

As long as you do those things, you know you’ll be roughly on track. If you can do more, then that is fabulous, but not necessary.

3. Ask for Help — There’s nothing quite like committing to another person to keep you on track.

Find a buddy, post something on your Facebook page asking others to help you stay on track or try something like www.StickK.com. This Web site gets you to publicly make a commitment to do something, like exercise four times a week during the next four weeks.

Then it enables you to put your money where your mouth is by betting against yourself.

For example, if you fail to exercise at least four days a week, you can choose to have your credit-card debited for a certain amount, say US$100, and that money can go to a friend, charity or even an organization you strongly dislike. There’s nothing like the fear of giving to an organization you disagree with to get your tush out the door for a run!