Health psychologist Shannon Mihalko, an associate professor in the Health and Exercise Department at Wake Forest University, offers some easy tips to help get through the holiday season of temptations. She is involved in a number of clinical trials examining both social cognitive and behavioral determinants and consequences of behavior change and adherence. In other words, she helps trial participants stick to the game plan.
1). “Go into gatherings with a game plan,” says Mihalko. “To the best of your ability, plan ahead and allow yourself a few food choices you might not usually get to enjoy.”
2) Don’t deny yourself. “The minute you tell yourself you won’t eat chocolate, all you can think about is ‘I want chocolate,’” she says. “When you deny yourself foods and treats, they get bigger and bigger in your mind and then you are more likely to overindulge in them.”
3) Don’t skip meals. “Some people might be inclined to skip dinner if they’re going to a party, but they set themselves up for overeating and not making smart choices.”
4) If you fall off the wagon, so to speak, and overindulge, forgive yourself, Mihalko says. “Sometimes when we go overboard, we tend to give up and forget about healthy eating altogether, but that’s obviously not a great strategy.”