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12 Tips To Stay Trim Through The Holidays [without being a party pooper…]

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If you aren’t the chef de cuisine at this year’s holiday gathering, you may feel a bit overwhelmed. Fret not!
Here are 12 stellar tips to keep you on track with your weight loss goals, without being the party pooper!

1.  BYOF

Bring Your Own Food.  There are two benefits to contributing to the meal, whether it’s at your house or at the home of a loved one.

1.   Not showing up empty-handed is the generally the polite thing to do. 

Plus, if you’re a guest at somebody’s home, you can’t expect them to fuss with a 100-year-old family green bean casserole recipe on account of your not eating bacon… err… you get the point.

2.   Nobody is going to care about your weight loss goals like you do.  

Even if they say they do – it’s unreasonable to expect people to cook around your diet.

That’s why I recommend bringing a snack to share with everybody.
One of my favorite snacks to bring to the holidays is a seafood platter with shrimp, gluten-free low-sugar cocktail sauce, grilled calamari, and even some fish roe that I get for a reasonable price at a local Asian foods store.
If you’re attending the party of a more “beer-n-brats” type gathering, bring something low-key that people can still slather in their chemical-laden ranch dressing.
Veggie platters don’t have to be the overpriced grocery store version with fatty, sugary salad dressings in the middle.  Head to the local organics section for Belgium Endive, Snap Peas, Baby Zucchini, Asparagus in every color… and Radishes!
Next week Okuma is releasing our Ultimate Holiday Survival Guide – a cookbook and collection of stories that will help you keep Merry AND Trim throughout this holiday season.
I’ll provide you *better* dressings (fresh and in just 2 easy steps!), great snacks and desserts to share, and lots of incredible stories that will help you stay on track without being a party pooper – no matter how many holiday parties you attend!  Stay tuned!

2.  Juice Before Getting Loose…

My sister Val is notorious for stopping at the coffee shop for a hot tea with milk or a latte before holiday gatherings.
A professional dancer for many years, she was under intense pressure to keep her tummy taut throughout the season.
This has become one of my favorite tricks for holiday healthfulness!
I stop at the Whole Foods or local juice bar before attending a party to get a nice green juice.
I sip the juice before arriving so that I won’t be hungry during the snacking phase of a party.  I may nibble on some olives, veggies, or protein-packed mixed nuts, but it keeps me satisfied until the main meal is served.
When I’m really in a rush, I arrive at the party empty-handed, but request a cup of hot water for my Oolong tea with honey and sip that for an hour or so in order to pace myself for the long, food-filled parties my family throws.

3.  Beware of Portion Distortion

Nothing can keep me away from my Grandma’s Homemade Ravioli or my Mom’s Famous Breakfast Casserole (I included a gluten-free version in my cookbook), but instead of twelve raviolis, I fill my plate with salad and have one piece of each filling.  (One ricotta, one beef.  Mmmm…. ravioli.)
Instead of two slices of my dad’s to-die-for homemade bread, I eat the crusty end of the loaf – my favorite part, and a decidedly smaller piece than one from the massive gooey middle of the bread.

4.  Don’t Deny Yourself

Who am I to turn my nose at fine champagne or my Aunt Diana’s mouth-watering meatballs?
The key is portion control.  
I don’t go back to the crock pot with my toothpick four or five times for meatballs.
Instead I take one, try a reasonable bit – savor that bite and let my mouth and taste buds enjoy the fatty meat and fruity sugars – and share the rest with somebody who isn’t watching their diet.
I’ve never had a problem taking half-portions or small bites of anything.  In fact, you enjoy the food MORE when you savor each bite slowly than if you scarf down seventeen meatballs.
Instead of a glass of champagne every hour – I’ll have a half a glass with my desert. That way I’m enjoying 50 calories of a sugary drink instead of 700 calories of French Silk pie.
And frankly, I prefer to “drink my dessert” as it is!

5.  Choose Your Battles…

There are some foods that I absolutely won’t touch at parties.
It’s good to use a bit of discretion – or even to be resolute about certain foods. There’s something wickedly cool that happens in the brain when you make a choice.  When you willfully choose to do something – your brain is filled with chemicals that fill you with a sense of reward.
The more we practice the art of willfully choosing a course of action – or saying “no” to foods that nobody should ever eat – like Velveeta cheese dips – the easier it becomes to practice self-control on a regular basis.
If you have ever suffered from addiction, you know that until you cultivate these higher self-control processes, you feel like a an teenager on the school yard who falls into smoking or drinking habits – it’s harder to say no to things when you haven’t practiced.
Your brain – and your body – will become stronger with each good choice you make.

6. Choose Your Booze Wisely!

I love to enjoy a nice glass of wine many nights of the week.
I live in the city so it’s a great way to break from my beloved work here at Okuma and meet a friend out on one of our notoriously warm, dog-friendly Austin outdoor patios.
I find that most parties, weddings, and celebrations tend to provide an abundance of drinks with high-sugar, empty calories, and inevitable hangovers.
My trick is to show up with a nice bottle of wine (or two) – something that’s a treat even for me to drink.  Then I’ll set it on the counter and let it breathe for 30 minutes or so.
If you start the celebration off with a sugary drink such as a martini or champagne right away, this has a few really negative side effects.
Here are a few that are excerpts from our upcoming Holiday Recipe Book!

Bonus Tip:  3 Reasons NOT To Start The Party With Sugary Drinks

  1. Sugary drinks spike insulin levels.  When you have excess insulin levels in your blood – your brain signals your body to pick up fat cells from the bloodstream in order to store more energy.  That’s why sugar is your worst enemy for fat loss – an excess of sugar = excessive fat storage.
  1. Alcohol affects your judgment – if you drink on an empty stomach you’re more likely to drink more, and use less discretion with your food choices.
  1. Eating sugar doesn’t satisfy you – in fact when you eat an excess of sugar – your brain doesn’t pick up on the fact that you have enough energy in your body and are full.  Therefore, you overeat.

My tip is to sip a delicious wine and really focus on it’s flavors, aromas, and texture.  Wine has unbelievable health benefits, such as antioxidants and the resveratrol in wine is linked to a healthier heart.
Not a fan of wine?  There are a plethora of other low-sugar options that I share in our Holiday Recipe Book.
Best yet – almost every one of our alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages can be prepared with Okuma’s Slimming Wu-Long Tea!

Tip #7.  Use Your Guests To Divert Your Attention From Food

My favorite way to divert my attention from food and booze at a party is to play with kids.
I have tons of cousins and it’s easy to spend hours running around, playing games, or throwing a ball with them.  In Chicago one of my favorite holiday pastimes is getting bundled up and creating a snowman with the kids.
It’s amusing for the guests – and it’s an incredible workout.
In Texas where I live now – it’s almost always perfect weather for a walk.
Make a game of it: take a group with you to have a holiday scavenger hunt or sing a carol to your favorite neighbor who lives a few blocks away.
Dig up your dad’s old Radio Flyer sled and trek to a hill near the house.
BONUS:  The parents will love you for minding the little ones for a bit while they relax and enjoy the holiday.
And the kids will think you’re the bee’s knees for years to come.

Tip #8.  Don’t Dip

It’s rare to find a dip that isn’t loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, and preservatives.
One way to stay on-track with your holiday is to avoid dips altogether. Ketchup, dressings, barbecue sauces, and cheese dips are the nastiest offenders.
Instead of dunking your veggies into a bath of chemicals, bring an organic hummus on-hand that will give you protein, vitamins, and is just as satisfying on your veggies.
Opt for mustard instead of ketchup on your grilled foods and if the menu calls for steak sauce or barbecue – find a special gluten-free one and offer it as a gift to the host or hostess.
One trick I use when going to a barbecue is to find a fancy, $8.00 bottle of sauce that is locally made, organic, and gluten-free.
Now you don’t look like you’re not gracious to your host – you’re presenting your healthier option as a gift to the party-thrower!
BETTER YET – make fresh, gluten-free homemade dips.
I’ll share tons from my new recipe book with you next week!

Tip #9.  Be Sweet… But Picky!

Loading up on turkey and salad is the easy part of a healthy holiday meal.
But what if you’re suddenly confronted with a room full of ice cream, pies, cakes, candies, and coffee drinks?
This is one of the easiest ways to take an otherwise healthy meal and blow it.
My trick has become a fun game for the whole family.
Everybody wants to try every treat – but it seems like each family brings enough dessert to feed the whole party!
That’s when we cut a couple slices of each desert and put them on plates with a few forks around each plate.
Now I’ll taste my Mom’s homemade pies while also getting a reasonable bite of my Uncle’s authentic cannoli too.
Or if there’s just one dessert you must have – cut yourself a mini-slice and slowly savor each bite.
You may find that the first bit is out of the world – and by the end you’ve spent so much time savoring and appreciating the dessert that you don’t need to finish it!

Tip #10.  Make Post-Holiday Plans…

My father loves to make post-holiday plans that keep him and my mom on track the day after a party – when most people want to sleep in and gorge themselves with fried eggs and toast in front of a football game.
My family, however, started a tradition of going on a hike the day after the holiday.
We all pile into cars and trek a few hours south of where they live to hike trails.
It gives us a reason to burn beaucoup calories – and spend quality time together as a family.
Nobody associates it with working out – everybody sees this as a cherished family adventure.
Plan an activity the day after your holiday that will inevitably get you back on track with your weight loss goals, and provide you with quality family time.

Tip #11.  RELAX A Little!

If you’re preoccupied with thoughts of calories and weight loss, your holiday will be anything BUT merry.
If you enter the holidays feeling confident about your workout routine, weight loss successes, and realistic about your goals; you will BE stronger.  At the bottom of every email I write is this quote:
“A Person Is Limited Only By The Thoughts That He Chooses”  ~James Allen
Go into your holiday season envisioning all the ways you will stay fit, and merry!
Visualize yourself using all these tricks to conquer the food frenzies.
Envision yourself going to bed at night after the holiday party and feeling fit, sober, and satisfied.
Know that you have already maintained your weight loss goals over the holiday season… you’re just waiting for the universe to catch up to what you’ve already accomplished.
REMEMBER:  If you believe it, you WILL achieve it!

Tip #12.  Curb Carb Cravings BEFORE You Indulge·

I ALWAYS keep Okuma’s remarkable Slimming Tea Capsules in my purse at ALL TIMES.
Taking one capsule 15 minutes before a meal CURBS carb cravings.
Wu-Long Slimming Tea capsules also rev up your metabolism for increased fat burning.
Our capsules are some of the BEST, 100% NATURAL ways to kill cravings and melt belly fat.
One Oolong Slimming Tea Capsule has nearly TEN TIMES the powerful fatburning polyphenols of green tea!
Busy days don’t always allow for a nice, relaxing cup of Oolong Tea. But there’s ALWAYS time to take advantage of our revolutionary tea capsules.
Get yours here today so that they arrive before the holiday parties begin!