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The skinny on holiday eatingPosted Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at 10:24 AM
January 1, 2012: What will your bathroom scale read? For the average American, the scale will read a few pounds heavier than it does now. But you think, "No big deal, my New Year's Resolution will be to lose weight."
Unfortunately, many Americans never lose that last holiday pound. The next November, they find themselves a pound heavier than the last. Repeating this process annually, folks suddenly discover themselves 10 to 15 pounds heavier. Extra weight makes it harder to fight off diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, and cancer.
As those more seasoned in celebrating birthdays know, it gets harder and harder to lose weight as you age. Better option: don't gain weight in the first place.
So how can you enjoy the holidays without regrets that weigh you down? Here are a few ideas:
Before the Parties Start
* If Halloween candy lingers, trash it!
* Don't give yourself a free pass until January 1st.
* Start an exercise program. Three brisk ten minute walks per day will increase energy and decrease stress, helping curb appetite.
* Don't skip meals, but do cut back on portion sizes.
* Snack on fruits and vegetables between meals, and add a source of protein like yogurt, hummus, or peanut butter for longer satiety.
* Keep portions of lean meat to 3oz or less.
* Choose whole grain foods: they keep you full longer.
* Dine on salad plates: you'll eat less.
* Decrease, if not eliminate, sugary drinks.
* Save baking for parties and family gatherings.
Once the Parties Start
* Don't go to parties hungry. Curb appetite with a small snack beforehand.
* For potlucks, take a healthy dish.
* Do your mingling as far as possible from the food table--out of sight, out of mind.
* Fill half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables, but don't take more than a tablespoon or two of dip.
* Every few bites, rate satiety on a scale of 1-10; when you get to 5, stop eating. It takes up to 15 minutes for the brain to register that your stomach is full.
* If you're going to eat calorie dense foods, make the calories worth it--only select foods that look like 9's and 10's.
* You reap the most enjoyment from the first two bites; so take small portions and small bites.
* Don't rush; savor and put the fork down between bites.
* If given a choice, choose the smallest plate.
* Be selective and choose homemade foods over store bought.
* Write down everything you eat: those who keep food journals tend to eat less.
* Go easy on calorie rich additions like butter, jelly, gravy, and whipped cream.
* We often go back for seconds while waiting for dessert. Considering eating a small dessert first; you might eat less.
* Remember that alcohol has calories too. You'll find approximately 100 kcals in a 12-oz light beer, a 5-oz glass of red wine, or 1.5 oz of liquor.
Dealing with Food Pushers
* Give the appearance of indulging: carry a glass of water or a small plate with some fruit or vegetable sticks.
* If you plan to try something soon, let them know.
* Politely say "no thank you."
* Politely say "no thank you." You've worked too hard.
* Firmly say "no thank you."
If you sometimes perform duties as a food pusher, try to respect guests who politely say "no thank you." Be a good host or hostess: remember pushing food makes guests uncomfortable. Plus, some guests may be following medically necessary diets but not want to share their medical condition.
After the Party
If you have leftovers, eat them. (Did you actually think I'd suggest deprivation?) But eat leftovers in a smart way:
* Don't waste calories on anything unhealthy that isn't a 9 or 10.
* Throw out foods you really don't want; although it may be wasteful, do it with your health in mind. "Wasting" a few extra calories can save you time, effort, and well being in January and beyond.
* Eat leftovers on salad plates.
* Continue to exercise.
* Almost everyone has slipped up and overindulged; don't beat yourself up, rather focus on the future. Resume normal eating habits the next day, cut back where you know you should, and add a few minutes to your workout.
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