Countdown to New Year’s: No-Resolutions Resolution Plan Week 6
What's on your agenda this week? Digging into Ree Drummond’s Christmas Queso? Sitting down to I na Garten’s gorgeous rib roast or cutting into the Neelys' crowd-pleasing glazed ham? Perhaps you've been the one tasked with making those cookies left out for Santa conveniently disappear? Sounds like a lot of fun — and fun that should be had.
"Think," says Sasson. It's really that simple: Be mindful before you even get to the festivities. Sasson suggests telling yourself: "There are times I will splurge, but the next day I’ll be more active. Or say, "I'm not going to parties famished. I am going to make sure I have something to eat before I get there." Stick to a regular eating schedule and pause before you go in for seconds or thirds.
Despite the fact that you're reading this, and hopefully that means you're going to enjoy yourself responsibly, what do you do Jan. 1 when your scale is not showing your normal weight? Here's what Sasson says not to do: diet. "That’ one of the worst things that happens in the new year," says Sasson. "People set unrealistic goals and go on crazy diets." While a plan to cut back sounds reasonable, what’s so wrong with dieting? Likely you’ll start a diet on Monday (everything begins on Mondays), but by Tuesday, when you’ve already broken it, you’ll tell yourself you’ll start again next week; therein lies the problem. “If you’re going to go on a diet, you’re going to go off a diet,” says Sasson. “That can’t happen if you decide to change your eating habits.” Give yourself reasonable goals, and tell yourself that this year you’re going to change your patterns.
What's a good place to start? "Explore the main reasons you gain weight," says Sasson. "Is it that you drink too much? Snack too much? Whatever it is, figure it out." When you get to the root of the issue, find a solution, but make sure it's one you can take on. "Perhaps you tell yourself, 'Every time I watch TV I’m not going to snack.' Or, 'When I go to restaurants I’m going to split desserts.' Or, 'I’m only going out to dinner once a week and cook more at home,'" suggests Sasson. She stresses that making key lifestyle choices is the key to success. "These are longer lasting rather than the temporary Band-Aid approach that people only do for a couple weeks."
A challenge you may face in changing your lifestyle, however, is managing time. There is just never enough of it, and yes, if you’re cooking more and ordering in less, you will need more of it. The key is to plan ahead. Sasson suggests batch cooking and making time to grocery shop, which will prevent you from eating junk when you come home starving at the end of the day. Think in advance what lunches you’ll be making for the week, and have an array of basics on hand or frozen homemade soups ready to be reheated.
When you do ring in the new year, if you’re going to resolve to do anything different, there's one biggie: change. "It’s the best resolution you can make for 2015," says Sasson. "You have to do something, because there's no magic. It’s time to make a change in your life."
Kiri Tannenbaum is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and holds an M.A. in food studies from New York University where she is currently an adjunct professor. When her schedule allows, she leads culinary walking tours in New York City and is currently at work on her first book.