Gary Foster, Ph.D.
Co-Chief Scientific Officer, Weight Watchers International, Inc.
My secret to staying healthy over the holidays:
- Don’t Expect Perfection: The holidays are a different time of year. Don’t pretend that they’re not. Expect to be exposed to more food and not always healthy ones. Expect to enjoy those treats that only come around once a year, but know that you have a healthy eating and lifestyle plan to come back to.
- Plan Ahead: Have a plan in place before you head to that holiday party or to Aunt Martha’s. If you know you can’t escape Aunt Martha’s brownies, go ahead and sample one, but make sure you have a plan to return to healthier meals after your holiday visit. Remember to control your own destiny and have a plan to return to what you normally eat that is good for you.
- Recover Quickly: Get back on track as soon as possible. Don’t say, “Since I went off plan on Friday, I might as well wait until Monday to get back to healthy habits.” Start on Saturday morning. Eat well at your next meal and your next. Be conscious of getting right back to your plan for healthy eating.
- Focus on Non-Food Aspects: Focus on family and friends and spending time together. The holidays are a time when attention is disproportionately focused on food. That’s not what it has to be all about. Focus on people and time spent together, activities, and creating lasting memories – that don’t always involve food.
My holiday indulgence: My favorite dessert is vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, especially when I eat out at my favorite restaurant. How do I manage this indulgence? I request that the server keep it to one scoop. I often get questioned about this strategy with my waiter saying, “Would you like a scoop of strawberry or chocolate ice cream to add to that?” I respond, “No, thank you, just one scoop of vanilla please.” I also make my choice about dessert before dinner, so that if I know I’m going to indulge in my one scoop of ice cream, I’ll choose an appetizer or entrée that is likely to satisfy me and leave room for my indulgent dessert.
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