Avoiding the holiday weight gain – Part 2
By Lindsey Woodkey, CPT
- Make Your “Cheats” Wholesome: This often means choosing a homemade dish over one that’s prepackaged or processed, or choosing the item that will give you more nutrients. Skip the store bought cookies and go for the Grandma’s homemade Pumpkin Pie, forgo the packaged, processed rolls and have mashed potatoes instead. So even if you are a little over your calorie budget, you will be getting in the nutrients your body craves (i.e., beta-carotene in the pumpkin, potassium from the potatoes, good fats from the nuts, etc.)
- Fill up on meats and veggies: When you look at your Thanksgiving plate, it should contain about ½ veggies, ¼ carbohydrates and ¼ lean proteins. Use the new “My Plate” as a guide. Start your meal with a salad or vegetable dish. These lower calorie items will fill you up without filling you out and leave only minimal room for the heavier, more calorie dense items (No—green bean casserole and candied yams do not count as vegetables). Then move on to your lean proteins, and end with the heavy, carbohydrate loaded items.
- Use Tablespoons, Not Ladles: This is like built-in portion control! You will naturally serve yourself less when you use smaller utensils.
- Do you really NEED it or do you WANT it?: When it comes to going back for seconds, ask yourself if you really need more (as in you are truly still hungry) or if your brain is just telling your body it wants more. If the second is true, try drinking more water or clearing your dish so you cannot add more to your plate.
- Don’t be afraid to say no: Mom pushing her jello dessert salad on you? Maybe its Aunt Martha’s creamed corn. Either way, don’t think that you have to accept any food that is offered to you. Politely decline saying you’re trying to stick with your healthy diet changes, or don’t give a reason at all. Often times we assume we will offend someone when they could care less.
- Have a small slice of your favorite pie: You don’t have to restrict yourself of all your favorites; it’s not worth having the body of your dreams if you cannot live in it. However, if you opt to try each of the desserts available you will not only consume more calories, but your body will be left crying for more (studies show the more choices we have the more we want). So, choose a small slice of your favorite and enjoy every bite.
- Forget the “Don’t let it go to waste” mindset: When choosing which leftovers to take, stick to the healthy items and don’t let one day of indulgence become two or three. If you are the host, send items home with your guests or freeze them for future holiday gatherings.
- Focus on Family and Friends, not food: Holidays should be more about enjoying the company of those we love than the food and drinks that accompany them. Instead of heading straight for the appetizer table, strike up a conversation with a family member you haven’t seen in a while. Help prepare the meal and clean up instead of continuing to munch. Remember the reason for the season; it’s not to expand your waistlineJ.
- When You’re Done, Be Done: Too often we sit and mingle at the table, plate still in front of us, reaching for more even when we know we’ve had enough. Once your body tells you you’re full, listen to it. Clear your plate, leave the table, or offer to do dishes. You still have desert coming anyway J.
- Get in a full body weights workout the morning before: This will prime your body to use those good carbs and proteins you’ll be consuming (ok good may be an overstatementJ) for muscle building purposes and not store them as fat. (There are gym and home exercise routines contained in this packet). Do not however think that because you worked out that day you have free reign to eat as you please.
- Play some football or go for a light walk after the meal: This will help your body use all the glucose you just put into your blood stream. Too cold to be outside? Dishes can be quite a workout (especially that roaster with the dried drippings, scrub scrub scrub!)
- Multiple Parties? Be a Grazer: We’ve all been there, forced to “party hop” from event to event in order to fulfill our social or family obligations. If we were to eat a full blown meal at each we would be on a road to disaster. Instead, pick which party you will enjoy the appetizers at, which will be your meal, and which you will only consume dessert. When the host offers you items not on your plan, politely decline telling them you’re saving room for what you came for. (“I’m going to pass, I really want to have some of your Pumpkin Mousse, it looks delicious!”)
- Decide What Treats You Will Enjoy and When: They seem to be everywhere this time of the year! Cookies at work, candy at the salon, brownies your neighbor brings over. Choose before the week begins how many “treats” you’ll allow yourself and stick to that number (the number will depend on your goals, activity level, etc.) Say you choose 3. Once you’ve had your fill (a piece of pie in the staff room, handful of chocolate covered almonds at Grandma’s and an Egg Nog Latte), hold strong and say no to other temptations that arise. Just make sure you don’t waste your treat allowance on items you don’t LOVE.