Jayne McAllister

Travel Wellness Expert and Author


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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays: Part 12. Final!

Holiday Survival Tip #29: Make A Commitment Now For the New Year

A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other.” Author unknown.

2014 new years resolution is DIET!In just over a couple of weeks, the New Year’s resolution frenzy will begin.  Sadly many hopes of being slim and trim will be thwarted by unreasonable expectations and lack of support and accountability.  Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions; only eight percent reach their goal.

Take the step now to commit so that once January 1st comes, you already have your ducks in a row.  Shameless plug – my 3-week Dine Out Lose Weight program starts on January 13th.  Reserve your spot now and you will have set yourself up for success because I will be supporting you each step of the way.  Confucius said, “Success depends on previous preparation and without such preparation, there is sure to be failure.”

Holiday Survival Tip #30: Wear a Seatbelt and Don’t Smoke

I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist this, but here are the two single, most effective action steps you can take for your long term health.  Like all the other tips, follow these year round and you’ll be the healthiest version of yourself that you can be.

Thank you so much for joining me for the 30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays.  It has been both my pleasure and a blast sharing them with you.

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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays: Part 11

Holiday Survival Tip #26: Be ready for your New Year’s Party

party at nightclubFor whatever reason, New Year’s Eve is the night when we’re expected to look our very best and positively shine.  It’s almost cruel that we should have to look our very best right after a month of partying between Thanksgiving, Hanukah and Christmas.  So, take out your New Year’s outfit now and leave it where it’s visible.  Ahem, that applies to the guys too. There’s nothing worse than a too-tight-tux.  Having a visual of your dress or suit will help you stay on track for the next few weeks.

Ladies, the last thing you want to do is run out and buy a new dress the day before the party.  That’s sad on more than one level, perhaps the saddest being that the sales don’t start until after New Year’s and you’ll see the same dress marked 50% off two days later!

Holiday Survival Tip #27: Make or Take a Healthy Option

Sometimes it’s easier to dine out at a restaurant because you can make your own choices.  When someone else is in control of your foodie destination, it can be a predicament if no healthy options are available.  The easy solution is to bring your light and healthy dish.  Most hosts will appreciate it.

Choose a veggie-laden side dish such as this tian ratatouille. I t won’t usurp the host’s culinary spectacles but it can be the star of your plate.

Holiday Survival Tip #28: Get Support and Accountability

Anybody who has ostensibly got their act together has a team of people helping them.  For most, it won’t be a full time team, but there will be a circle of support from friends and professionals.   Don’t be an island.  See who is receptive to and supportive of your path to health, and stay close to them.


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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays: Part 10

Holiday Survival Tip #23: Eat mindfully

Just how much are you eating mindlessly?

Just how much are you eating mindlessly?

Another one that we’ve heard before but we’re all guilty of it.  When was the last time you watched TV or read a book while eating?  And at this most wonderful time of the year when you’re glued to the telly watching Miracle on 34th Street and sobbing your eyes out, you definitely won’t notice how many cookies you’re eating.  The longer you watch TV while eating, the more you will eat.

Brian Wansink in his fabulous book, “Mindless Eating,” tells that people who watch TV for an hour while eating will eat 28% more than those who watch and eat for half an hour.  In this case, it was popcorn and carrots.  What they were eating really didn’t make much difference.

Holiday Survival Tip #24: Distract Yourself When Eating Between Meals

If you’re eating between meals, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just looking for something to do.  The whole concept of eating five or six times per day is a relatively new, American concept.  Traditionally people have eaten three squares and been quite satisfied.  Then the snack food industry came along and changed all that.

Before you reach for the peppermint bark, sugar cookies or eggnog ice cream, go for a walk around the block, call a friend or play with your Holiday train set.  By keeping your mind occupied, you’ll forget about eating.

One of the same Brian Wansink’s friends commented to him how he lost 30 pounds within a year by eating anything he wanted.  The trick, apparently, was that if he had a craving when he wasn’t hungry, he would say out loud, “I’m not hungry but I’m going to eat this anyway.”  Apparently declaration a voce alta was enough to deter him.  Try it and see!

Holiday Survival Tip #25: Take a dance break.

Get up and dance!

Get up and dance!

I think Christmas is about celebration and, come on, on the inside everyone wants to dance.” TobyMac.

This is the one time of the year that we’re bound to boogie.  If the thought of dancing the night away at the office party isn’t your thing, then I strongly recommend closing the curtains, turning up Mariah and truly dancing like no one’s watching because they’re not.  If you have a dog or cat witnessing you access your inner Lady Gaga, reassurances and treats might be in order afterwards.

Dancing uplifts your energy and mood, burns a ton of calories, and puts you in the festive spirit.  It’s also a good distraction tactic (see tip #24, above).  This time of year is a free for all, so go for it.


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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays: Part 9

Holiday Survival Tip #20: Re-gift the chocolate

Christmas is a stocking stuffed with sugary goodness.” Mo Rocca

Portrait of beautiful young girl with chocolate cupcakeRe-gift?  Are you joking? Okay, within reason.  A box of Godiva’s new line in truffles is one thing but your fifth box of Russell Stover’s is another. Keep a little quality goodness for when it’s needed and donate the rest to a homeless shelter or food bank.  Spread the cheer to those who don’t have as much.  You’ll feel really good and look really good inside and out.

Holiday Survival Tip #21: Fat, fiber, protein at every meal.

Qué?  One of the secrets to not overeating is to balance your nutrients.  Does this mean counting calories, fat and carb grams?  No.  Making food about numbers creates food obsessives.  Combining the right foods at each meal makes for a satisfied body and mind, and fewer cravings and overeating.

Aim for good fats (nuts, avocadoes, oily fish, olive oil); quality protein (lean meats, fish, organic eggs and legumes), and fiber (vegetables and fruits).  For more information about balancing foods, give me a shout at info@jaynemcallister.com.

Holiday Survival Tip #22: Don’t give up when you get derailed

On December 13th you over indulge at a party.  That’s it, you say.  I’m done. I have no control.  I may as well wait until January 1st.  And since when did one little lapse make anyone a failure?  Time to pick yourself up, stand tall and carry on.  What would make you happier right now? Wandering down the path of self-destruction or picking up where you left off?  Every little step you take now is going to take off the pressure on January 1st (we’ll talk about that later).


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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays: Part 8

Holiday Survival Tip #17: Journal

Typically, the only people who lose weight during the Holidays are journaling.  Research has proven this. So, grab yourself a notebook, a pretty journal, the back of your grocery list or a cocktail napkin but do it!  And no sugar coating.   People tend to write down only the good so be sure to write down everything you eat and drink each day.  You’re starting to be accountable to yourself and you’ll be able to identify patterns, such as reaching for the cookie jar at 4 PM or late night snacking.

Journaling is a wonderful way to gain insight into your relationship with food.  Try it for three days, then see if you want to continue.  You might be intrigued by what you learn about yourself.

Holiday Survival Tip #18: Avoid the Cheese Appetizers

“Nothing says Holidays like a cheese log.” Ellen

A little dinner with your cheese?

A little dinner with your cheese?

I’ve never quite got my head around the habit of serving cheese and crackers BEFORE a meal rather than following the European custom of serving it afterwards. In the latter case, a smaller amount suffices because one is already satiated.  The cheese can even be eaten with a knife and fork so that its full flavor is appreciated.

What about having an entire melted Brie with half a baguette just before dinner?  Nope. Plus, let’s face it, most people are serving squares of processed cheese with trans-fat laden crackers. When you have cheese as an appetizer, you’re filling up on saturated fat so you’ll be sated but your arteries will not love you. Cheese is one of life’s great pleasures but it is meant to be savored and appreciated in small portions.

Holiday Survival Tip #19: Take time each day to de-stress

Christmas stress shopping womanBut I’m not stressed,” you protest. Well, if you’re the only person who can get through the entire Holiday season without an iota of stress, give me a call and you can write this section next year.  Who knows what can set stress in motion?  A little angst about pulling together a fabulous meal; the dog eating the pumpkin pie (as happened at our Thanksgiving); the juice for the gravy accidentally getting soapy water in it (as happened at our Thanksgiving); seeing an unpopular relative for the first time in ages; worrying that people won’t like their gifts; or the turkey not being cooked (as happened to me the first two times I made Christmas dinner for large parties).

This is the time of year when we give in to the irrational. The smallest incident can escalate, inflate and blow out of proportion. (I know those are synonymous – I’m making sure you’re paying attention). Take time each day to step back, enjoy the peace and quiet, and reflect on what’s going well.  Even ten minutes will make a difference.  If matters start heating up or becoming overwhelming, excuse yourself and retire to a “safe place,” a quiet spot where you can regroup.

And just think, you won’t have to deal with this again for approximately 11 months.


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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays: Part 7

Holiday Survival Tip #14: Hang Out With Kindred Spirits

I once wanted to become an atheist but I gave up – they have no holidays!” Henny Youngman

Surround yourself with people who have similar goals to you.  If your best friend wants to sit next to the buffet table, leave her to it and go hang out with others.  Releasing weight can bring out the worst in people you love.  Expect to be told you look ill or to not lose any more weight when in fact you’ve lost 1 ½ pounds,not 10.  A pal who will help you stay on track by eating healthily and exercising with you is worth their weight in gold, even if their weight is decreasing.

Holiday Survival Tips #15 and 16:  Plan Some Rewards/Eat A Little of What You Want (These two are related)

I have to call you out here. Rewarding yourself with a non-food gift, such as a massage or new item of clothing is a fabulous idea. However, it’s another of those tips to which we tend to pay lip service, then we eat an entire pack of cookies on reaching our first five pound goal.  It sounds great but the cookies are more appealing.  This means that you are depriving yourself on some level so you have to compensate by bingeing.  In the words of the wonderful Geneen Roth, “For every diet, there is an equal and opposite binge.”

How about you have it all?  Treat yourself to a little of what you want (that doesn’t mean the entire chocolate log; it means three bites) and pick from your self-care menu* for a fabulous reward for staying on track.  You can even do this every day so that you’re feeling so darn good about yourself, the food temptations will eventually be diminished.

*A self-care menu is a list of all the non-foodie things you love to do, such as soaking in a hot bubble bath; watching sunrise or sunset; playing with your pet for an extra 15 minutes a day; thrift or antique shopping with a friend; tickets to a special ball game.  Keep the list to hand so you can refer to it often.


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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays: Part 6

Holiday Survival Tip #11: Remember How Many Days There Are Between Thanksgiving and New Year

People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between the New Year and Christmas,” unknown.

There are 33 days between Thanksgiving and New Year. Do you really want to let go for a twelfth of your year?  You can stay on track through the holiday period like you have for the rest of the year.  The odd splurge and fabulous dinner are, of course, allowed.  Throwing caution to the wind is not.

Holiday Survival Tip #12:  Get Enough Sleep

The relationship between weight management and sleep is underrated.  For a start, if you feel rested and have enough energy, chances are you won’t be reaching for pick-me-ups (usually sugar and caffeine) at all hours of the day.

Secrets to getting a good night’s sleep:

  • Don’t eat too late (post 8 PM).  The liver goes to work sorting out your system between 10 PM and 2 AM.  Help it out by not eating too late and you’ll avoid indigestion.
  • Don’t drink too much.  The second glass of wine inevitably leads to a 4 AM internal wake-up call.  Trust me, I know.  Without vino, I sleep for 9 glorious, uninterrupted hours.
  • Start cutting back on liquids in the evening so you don’t have to get up to go to the bathroom during the night.  Drink most of your water in the morning to rehydrate and the early part of the afternoon to keep you going and to stave off hunger.

Holiday Survival Tip #13: Keep The Unhealthy Stuff Out of Sight

FeiernOut of sight is truly out of mind.  While that might not be good for the love of your life, it’s perfect for the inevitable influx of candies and cookies that should be starting to head your way about now. If you’re not going to re-gift them, stick them in the back of a cupboard where you have to make an effort to get them when you really want them.  If they’re in plain sight, that’s an invitation to mindless eating.

Finally, how the heck are you doing with these tips?  Do let me know in the comments below.