The wonderful holiday season is upon us! Many of my patients share their worries that the holiday season may derail their dedication to living a healthy lifestyle and maintaining the weight they have worked so hard to lose. With the abundance of food and drink that often accompanies the merriment, it can be particularly tough to stick to our healthy lifestyle plans – let’s be honest, it’s hard to say no.
So – don’t say no. Just engage in a few practices that will help get you through! The theme here is eating mindfully – give purposeful thought to the choices you make. Here are a few suggestions: (avid readers may recall these suggestions from previous years)
- Make sure it’s worthy of splurging: If you are going to treat yourself, make sure it is awesome enough to deserve it. If it’s not delightful with the first bite, stop.
- Portions, portions, portions. If it’s not a healthy choice, have a small portion.
- Take your time: remember that it takes about 15 minutes for the fullness hormones to kick in and tell your brain that you feel full.
- Fill your plate wisely: Fill half of your plates with vegetables (avoiding dressing/butter/sauces); choose lean proteins; minimize portions of foods where it’s very hard to know what’s in it (eg mashed potatoes and stuffing can hide a lot of extra calories); and minimize gravies and sauces. Eat the vegetables first.
- Don’t starve yourself all day before a big meal or party: you’ll end up very hungry and likely to eat more than your full day of calories.
- Be aware of liquid calories, especially alcohol. Alcohol is empty calories that does not give any fullness sensation. Your body essentially puts the brakes on burning anything else until the alcohol is out of your system.
Happy Holidays to all!
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