Christmas Diet Tip #1: Eating Slowly Translates to Pounds Lost
Here is one thing you can do today that will help you gracefully and sveltely move through the holiday season.

Chew Slowly and Savor the Flavor
Research shows that those who slow down while eating and savor the flavor, eat less than those who gulp and stuff.

In a recent study conducted by the University of Rhode Island, scientists found that when eating quickly women consumed 646 calories in approximately nine minutes. When they ate slowly, they averaged 579 calories in 29 minutes!

Get it? They ate 67 calories more in nine minutes than they did in 29 minutes! In addition, those who slowed down and savored the flavor, enjoyed their meal and felt satisfied on multiple levels! One thing you can do today: Slow Down … Savor the Flavor!

Christmas Tip #2: Five Steps to Kill the Sugar Craving
For the record, YES, I DO enjoy a sweet or two now and again. Especially during the Holiday Season!

It has been my experience that as soon as I tell myself that I absolutely cannot have something, I want it even more than I did before. I begin to obsess over the “can\’t have” item.

It\’s called the “Forbidden Fruit” phenomenon. And I\’m betting that you are shaking your heads up and down agreeing with me. “Yup. Me too … soon as I say, “NO” … the candy calls my name even louder. It\’s like some evil force has taken over.”

In the service of quieting your \’inner alien\’ a.k.a. \’evil twin,\’ here are some steps that will help you to …Make peace with (or kill) your cravings!

1. Plan Ahead: If you are a chocolate-holic, pull out your weekly food plan/calendar right now and write in 3 chocolate snacks that you love. Example: one ounce of your favorite semi-sweet chocolate (170 calories). Plan it and count it!!
2. Enjoy It: When “The Chocolate Hour” is before you, stretch that one ounce piece for an hour! Well that\’s a bit of a stretch. Nevertheless, do sit with your chocolate,. Be one with your chocolate. Do not watch television, talk to others, read the paper. Let the chocolate melt in your mouth, s-l-o-w-l-y … and ENJOY it.
3. Alternative Sweets: People generally tend to crave sweets after a meal or when they hit that late afternoon slump. You might enjoy some peppermint tea, a one- ounce box of raisins, a piece of fruit. Get it? Something natural. Not processed!
4. Wait it Out: Cravings are like clouds. They roll in with the winds and out, too. Generally, the \’crave\’ cycle is ten minutes long. As soon as you see a \’crave cloud\’ rolling in, call a friend, take a walk, get busy and distract yourself for a mere ten minutes. Build your \’wait it out muscle.\’
5. Give Yourself a Star: Whether you wait out a craving or sit and be one with your chocolate, you have changed a behavior. Seriously, that\’s bigger than losing a pound and harder to do! So, give yourself a star. Buy a packet of sticky stars and put one on your food journal page every time you do something that shows that your thinking and behavior are beginning to shift.

Changing your behavior and thinking differently are the two biggest keys to permanent fat removal. We are talking permanent fat removal, not just weight loss…because if you lose it, you will find it! How can you begin to change your relationship to sugar?

Christmas Diet Tip #3: Choosing a Food Plan
Here\’s what you need to know and think about before choosing your food plan!

3,500 calories equals 1 pound
It\’s scientific! No matter how you slice it, dice it, package it or name it, 3,500 calories cut is one pound lost. Whether you take in 500 calories fewer per day, or burn 500 calories more per day by exercises, by the end of the week, you will be one pound lighter.

Questions to ask yourself. Do I like the foods on this food plan? If you do not, you will not stick with it!

How long can I live with this food plan? If you say for a week or even a month, you are doomed to fail. This is about making a healthy lifestyle change for LIFE!

Is this diet too restrictive? If your food plan is based on too few calories (1200 to 1500 is the suggested range), or if your food plan omits certain food groups, you are likely to binge and have uncontrollable cravings.

What food plan works for you? Let\’s stay healthy and happy this holiday season.

Christmas Diet Tip #4: Trigger Foods
We all know that keeping a food diary is hugely important in the land of successful weight loss. And whilst it is important to record what you have eaten and how much you have eaten each and every day, you may also want to look at and make note of your “triggers.”

Trigger foods are foods that get the better of us; that set off some sort of irrational chain reaction that causes us to over-eat, binge – go crazy!

Over the course of the day, our brains send out a number of hunger messages. Sometimes we are actually hungry! (I experienced that once.)

And then there are the times when the mere mention of fries, or the aroma of fresh baked goods from the local bakery, or even a food commercial sets us off! There are emotional triggers, too. Big boss says something that\’s unnerving and undermining and the urge to order an entire pizza pie for lunch is set into motion. Or, your mother gives you a \’compliment\’ (HA!) and next thing you know you are covered in Oreo cookie crumbs.

It\’s important to identify your triggers, and write them down! Because writing them down – whether they are food triggers, emotional triggers, situational triggers – can help you to identify your \’trigger patterns.\’ With awareness, you can derail the \’trigger\’ before it is actually \’triggered.\’ Make sense? You betcha\’! Be sure to let us know what triggers you. Could help us identify what triggers us! We\’re in this together.

Christmas Diet Tip #5: Eat More!
More is Less. Add food to your diet. Yup, you heard me, alrighty! I\’m telling you to eat more…Fruits and vegetables that is! If you want to feel sated, satisfied, full … NOT hungry … then fruits and veggies are your ticket.

Seven Heavenly Ways to Add Vegetables to Your Daily Food Plan1. How About a V8? Try one for your 3 p.m. afternoon snack. I love the spicy kind with a couple of celery sticks sticking out of it. Yum delicious plus chomping action!
2. Toss In veggies into your soups, stews and salads.
3. Baby Spinach. Use prebagged baby spinach just like you would lettuce, AND toss it into your soups, wilted on top of pasta! That\’s my favorite. With a little parmesan cheese. WOW!
4. For those of us who are on the run or have chopping problems (I do! Peter, my husband is the designated chopper in the house), buy vegetables that are already cut up. I know it costs more, but if that\’s the only way you are going to eat more veggies, it\’s worth it. (Skip the $4 cup of coffee!).
5. Did you know that vegetable soup counts as a vegetable? WOW!!!
6. Lettuce, tomato and sprouts oh My! Feel free to pile up layers and layers on your sandwiches. You can add a layer of cucumber, too. What else? Get creative. Go for it!
7. If you are not a fan of vegetables, eat fruit! Colorful, beautiful and juicy fruit – like oranges mangoes and melons. They are filled with vitamins and fiber, too.
Get chompin\’ this holiday season. Bring a tray of crudite with you to parties. Come armed with your celery sticks! You are worth the effort!

Christmas Diet Tip #6: Create the Perfect Plate
Tryin\’ to Lose Weight? Want to eat healthfully? Then you\’ve got to create the perfect plate! And who better knows what a healthy plate looks like than the American Diabetes Association.

ADA suggests we divide our plate into three sections.

1/2 of your plate: non-starch veggies, like broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, salad, tomatoes, cauliflower, all the leafy greens!
1/4 of your plate: starches such as rice, pasta, potatoes, corn, cous cous, peas or any of your whole grains.
1/4 of your plate: protein such as chicken, fish, meat or tofu.
Finishing touch: a glass of milk, a peace of fruit OR a small roll (and they mean small). For those who rebel against weighing and measuring, here is something you can eye!
So …No Excuses.

Make a pretty plate. Lose Weight. (No loop holes allowed … like using a platter!) What does your plate look like?

Christmas Tip #7: Before and After Photos
I know that the thought of snapping a before photo is mighty upsetting to a lot of us. But I\’ve got to tell you, if you want to stay motivated and lose weight fast, do it NOW!

A picture truly says more than a thousand words. And, I can assure you that you will be thrilled to compare the after photo to it.† In fact, you may want to take photos every couple of pounds or every ten pounds, as you the scales of injustice head south.

It\’s oddly easy to forget where we started and not give ourselves enough credit for how hard we\’ve worked or how far we have come.

So start snappin\’! Fun photo days are at the end of this rainbow!

Christmas Tip #8: Share Your Healthy Eating with Your Family.
Are you thinking that if you are going to make public your weight loss commitment that you will be weighed down by the pressure of it?

Are you concerned that if you share this news with friends and family that they might either turn into the food police or the saboteurs?

Best thing to do, is to tell your family that you have turned over a “healthy leaf.: You don\’t have to mention the scale or pounds if you don\’t want to.

You can share healthy recipes with them, bring healthy foods to the holiday gatherings. In essence, you can be the designated “health” leader of your clan.

If you don\’t tell them and enlist their support, you are running the risk of them inadvertently sabotaging your efforts.

It may feel odd at first, to take on this position – to be the leader of the pack – but the rewards are plentiful. Not only will you slim down, but you may have turned some unhealthy lives, just by example.

Christmas Tip #9: It\’s NOT about your fat; it\’s about your life.
Your weight, your diet, your exercise plan is just one slice of your life pie. Permanent weight loss is about living a balanced life. It\’s about looking at all areas of your life – health, relationships, finances, career, fun, creativity, spirituality, physical environment – and creating them so that they support YOU to have the best life ever.

Focusing only on weight loss will not serve you well. If anything, you may lose weight, but you will most definitely find it.

Make a commitment to YOU, all of you, every aspect of you. Losing weight won\’t fix what\’s wrong with your finances. Gathering buckets of money, won\’t help you to lose weight. Seek balance. Enjoy every aspect of your life!

Christmas Tip #10: Own Your Power
According to the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, those who ‘owned\’ their power to control what they ate, lose more than those who don\’t.

How to “Own Your Power,” you ask?

THINK about all that you\’ve learned from past weight lost attempts. These attempts are a part of your path. It\’s okay that you didn\’t drop those pounds the first time around. People rarely do. (I sure didn\’t! Took me multiple times to finally get it!)

THINK about how you see yourself and create a positive mental picture. How do you want to look? See it; believe it!

THINK about your goals. Are you going for fast weight loss or permanently lifestyle change? Are they reasonable? Are the SMART (specific – measurable – accountable – realistic -timely?)

I have total faith that if I can, YOU CAN! Let\’s join together in the spirit of the holiday season and support each other BIG-TIME, as we all become BIG-TIME-LOSERS!
For more information on how to wake up thinner on New Year\’s Day, go to The Christmas Diet (www.christmasdiet.com)

Janice Taylor, is a Weight Loss Coach and Certified Hypnotist. She is the author of Our Lady of Weight Loss: Miraculous and Motivational Musings from the Patron Saint of Permanent Fat Removal and creator of the popular e-newsletter Kick in the Tush Club.