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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Holding Pattern: Minimize the Damage

There are many tips and useful strategies in the 5 Day Pouch Test plan that support our goals, even while in a holding pattern. Check out this quick read: The 5 Day Pouch Test: Express Study Guide

Kindness: Above all else, be kind to yourself. Express gratitude for your weight loss tool and for your personal empowerment. Celebrate doing the best you could to find a middle ground to respect yourself and your traditions.

Can you believe we are in the midst of the winter high holidays? It sure feels like it crept up on me this year and I'm not ready for it. While this is a joyful time of year it is also, I believe, the most challenging time of the year when it comes to meeting and reaching our health goals. The food temptations are many and our schedules are full leaving little time for exercise or self-care. Something is bound to give.
Lately I've found myself thinking if I can just get through the holidays without doing too much damage to my diet and fitness routine, if I can just maintain a "holding pattern," then I can begin the new year renewed and enthusiastic.

In aviation a holding pattern is a maneuver that delays aircraft in flight from landing. The planes are held in a specific airspace flying a racetrack shaped pattern until it is safe to land. A holding pattern may be enforced because of traffic congestion, poor weather, or runway unavailability. While a holding pattern is inconvenient for travelers the objective is to ensure a safe landing.

For the next several days I'm going to put myself in a "holding pattern" using the principals of the 5 Day Pouch Test to define my airspace and designate my flight pattern. Doing so will keep me safe for landing come January 1st.  I hope this gives you the tools and desire to prepare for your safe landing in the New Year.

Principals to Build Your Holding Pattern
Here are some 5 Day Pouch Test strategies to help you build a holding pattern and prepare for a safe landing:

Breakfast: Eat a protein breakfast first thing. Use recipes for Day 3 including Breakfast Bakes. A protein dense meal will kick-start your metabolism: it will also provide a feeling of fullness. Have a second serving of your breakfast bake three hours later to stave hunger while yummy holiday smells fill the air.

Water & Beverages: Drink 24 ounces of water between breakfast and your mid-morning snack. A well-hydrated body works efficiently and reduces hunger cravings. Continue to drink water throughout the day: at least 64 ounces. Avoid high-calorie punch or mixed drinks. Drink alcohol only at meals. Read more about liquid restrictions.

Appetizer Buffet: Practice the 2 Bite-1 Bite Rhythm and liquid restrictions while cruising the appetizer buffet. Specifically, eat two bites of protein for every bite of fruit or vegetable carbohydrate. If you are eating from the buffet avoid liquids until you have finished your appetizers. Best bet - wait 30 minutes before and after the appetizer buffet for liquids. (This is tough - even a 10-minute liquid pause before and after will help). Make sure buffet food is presented safely, learn more what to look for.

Slider Foods: Remember that crackers, pretzels, cookies and white breads are non-nutritional slider foods. If you give yourself permission to enjoy some of your favorites remember the liquid restrictions (above) to avoid sliding your way up the scale. Even slider foods will help you feel full when observing the liquid restrictions. Learn more about slider foods.

The Big Feast: Get greedy with the protein; be stingy with the side dishes. I'm a sucker for the ubiquitous green bean casserole so I'll indulge with a bite or two on this special day. Treat yourself to a favorite and then let it go. It is just food. Remember your liquid restrictions, but celebrate too. It is okay to sip a bit with the big meal. A moist mouth facilitates conversation and surgical weight loss does not exempt us from sharing a toast with our loved ones. When the meal is over, it is over. Remove your plate and avoid post-meal nibbles during kitchen duty. Better yet, let someone else do clean up. Go for a long walk: assign kitchen duty to the kid table. (Go ahead and say, "My doctor prescribed that I must walk after every meal, I'd love to help but it is important that I take care of my health.")

Use these recipes to support your weight management goals:
The 5 Day Pouch Test: Complete Recipe Collection

Dessert: After dinner sweets are neither good nor bad: they are just desserts. If you have a perennial favorite take a bite or two and savor the moment. Then let it go. Toss the rest (you may have to be crafty about this to avoid hurting Aunt Edna's feelings, but it is ok to throw away a chunk of pie). Being in control of your fork always feels better than pie tastes.

Kindness: Above all else, be kind to yourself. Express gratitude for your weight loss tool and for your personal empowerment. Celebrate doing the best you could to find a middle ground to respect yourself and your traditions.

Day After: Follow the food plan for Day 3. Again, start your day with a protein dense breakfast. Day 3 is a "soft protein" day and the food plan is gentle with your little tummy. Drink lots of water. Avoid slider foods. Take your vitamins and exercise (shopping counts!). Plan your meals and snacks: do not eat leftovers standing at the refrigerator. Pat yourself on the back! You have the power to celebrate an eating day without allowing it to become the launching pad for a 6-week feast.

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