12/03/2012 11:02 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Walk the Talk: Eat Healthy Over the Holidays

Flickr: Derek E-Jay


It's that time again, but I don't want the holiday parties to set me back.

I can teach others how to enjoy the holiday season without putting on weight; however, how can I be sure to walk the talk?


A post-election article in the New York Times on Nov. 13 described the strategies used by the Obama volunteers to bring the voters out to the polls.

I'm going to use their techniques to enjoy the holidays and stay on plan.

The volunteers did not merely knock on doors to remind people to vote. They "used subtle motivational techniques that research has shown can prompt people to action."

• They reminded people that they had voted before. "We know you voted in the past." This statement acts as a prompt to vote again.

We can think about times when we were able to enjoy holidays and not stuff ourselves. This is a good prompt for me.

• Some volunteers asked people if they would sign a commitment to vote, thus making the promise public.

I wrote a blog about making a public commitment. Motivational research suggests it works!

• If people said they would vote, the volunteers asked them to be specific in their planning and say what time they would vote.

Research suggests the more you can preview exactly what you will do and when, the more likely you are to do it. It is easier to do something if you have already previewed yourself doing it.

I will use the three motivational techniques to help me in my struggle with temptation. I am being very specific.

1. I am reminding myself of times I had fun without overeating.


2. I'm making a public commitment to you.


3. I am picturing myself at a party.


To help me with the third strategy I will wear clothes that are snug to remain conscious of how much I'm eating.


I will keep a glass of sparkling water in my hand to keep my hands busy. It will also make it awkward to reach for food. The water will also fill me up. At parties where it's OK to bring a dish I will bring a salad and veggies. Most important for me is not to hang around near the food. If I see it, I want it.

I will stick to this plan. I hope you can to.

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