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 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.


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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through The Holidays Part 5

Holiday Survival Tip #8: Take Control of What’s On Your Plate

Fill your own plate if that’s an option so you can go heavier on the veggies and lighter on the fattening stuff.  Most of us don’t eat enough veggies anyway and you’ll avoid feeling bloated and heavy, and probably sleep better!

Holiday Survival Tip #9:  Think Twice Before Seconds

If you think you want seconds after your main course, have a drink of water and wait ten minutes.  Check in with yourself to see if you are really hungry, especially if you’re planning on having dessert.  If you do decide to head for seconds, limit them to vegetables.  If you’re truly hungry, they’ll fill you faster.

ScaleHoliday Survival Tip #10: Stay On Your Weigh-in Schedule

Be sure to continue to weigh in weekly.  If you let it slide, the weight can creep on really easily.  Even if you’re eating healthy food, too much healthy food is unhealthy.  While I was in college, I spent time in Africa, in a town where modern conveniences were practically non-existent so I had no access to a scale.  I was eating like the locals, so no processed foods and enjoying a well balanced diet.  One day I went to the “big city” to see an expat friend and she had a scale. I was horrified to see that despite my good eating habits, I had put on 10 pounds.

Weight can creep up even if you’re being moderate, because of stress, sleep patterns, the wrong foods or a shift in thyroid.  Weigh yourself on a Sunday since parties are usually on Friday and Saturday nights.


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30 Tips for Staying Slim and Sane Through the Holidays: Part 3 (Alcohol and Dessert)

Today we have two sensitive but aptly timed topics for the Eve of Thanksgiving.

Holiday Survival Tip #4: Watch the Wining

Glasses with champagne on shiny backgroundWe’ve all heard that it’s wise to have a glass of water for every alcoholic drink we consume.  This is true for many reasons.  It will help you stay hydrated, slow down the entry of alcohol into the bloodstream, and make you look prettier in the morning. (No red eyes, bags under the eyes or wrinkly dehydrated skin).  My question to you then, is do you actually do it? I know I forget sometimes.  So what can you do to make sure you follow through for yourself?

Make your first drink a soft one in a fancy glass.  Sparkling water works well in a wine glass or a rocks glass.  That way you’re off to a good start.  If you’ve read my previous blogs, you haven’t arrived starving and you have the presence of mind sans alcohol to not go nuts over hors d’oeuvres.

After a glass of water or two, you can sip on a glass of champagne or a cocktail.  Soda water should be the mixer of choice.  The perils of regular soda or diet soda can be saved for another day, so trust me on this.  Nurse and appreciate your beverage so that it lasts.

Keeping your pre-prandial liquor intake light means you won’t be diving for the bread basket or overindulging at dinner.  I’m adamant about enjoying wine with food so wait until your meal has been served before you have a glass and make sure you continue to have a glass of water or two for each glass of wine.

Savoring and appreciating your beverage should mean fewer empty calories.  My inner wine snob would also recommend that, if you’re cutting back consumption, go for better quality.  Remember, “Life is too short to drink cheap wine.”

Holiday Survival Tip #5:  Deal With Dessert

Christmas Buche de Noel cakeOh the cruelty of it!  This is the time of pecan pie and pumpkin pie in the USA, mince pies and Christmas pudding in the UK, and bûche de Noël in France.  How could I have the audacity to say that a sliver of dessert is all you need.    But really, it is. We “need” a few tastes to satisfy our sweet tooth.   Savoring and enjoying a few bites will go a lot further than wolfing down a whole plateful.

Now, we all know that if you ask for your server or hostess for a small portion, they’ll smile benignly at you while piling a veritable mountain onto your plate.  In this case, you have three bites and be done.  Savor them.  Relish them and count them.  Then let it go.  Similarly, if your host is absolutely insistent that you have some of their famous pie or cake, tell them you’re more stuffed than the turkey but you’ll gladly take a piece to enjoy later.  Do not put it in your fridge. Do not eat it in the car before you arrive home. Ditch it discreetly as soon as you are able.