Post submitted by Charmaine Gregory, MD (Emergency Medicine)
Full bio info below post.
Can you believe that another year is coming to an end and that it is the holiday season, already? This is a special time of year for a lot of people; granted, we may be celebrating different holidays post Thanksgiving day here in the United States, like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or Christmas. The bottom line is that there is no paucity of food as part of the winter holiday season celebration. Food that is rich, decadent and absolutely delightful! It is no wonder that on average, Americans gain approximately 1-2 pounds during the holiday season. This amount does not sound like a lot but it tends to be cumulative and carries over and compounds after the festive season. Who wants that, right?
If you have made the decision to change your eating habits, and pay attention to the kinds of food you are ingesting, then this can be a challenging time of year. By no means does this truth prevent you from getting started, continuing or crushing your wellness and fitness goals. There is a huge amount of power in being mindful with your eating during this holiday season. This can be a time of great victory and breakthrough if you are indeed forearmed prior to attending all those lovely office parties, family celebrations and other venues with decadent food awaits.
Getting set to win this holiday season is simple and doable. These hacks will keep you on top of your game. Don’t forget to keep your downloaded checklist in a spot where you can readily reference it :).
1. Don’t Skip Meals. The day of the party or feast make sure that you don’t skip meals. This is especially true for breakfast. The skinny is that you will end up overeating due to your fast. We definitely don’t want that! Research shows that mom was right all along when she said that breakfast was the most important meal of the day. People that eat breakfast tend to consume less calories throughout the day. The other helpful trick is to eat lots of fruit and vegetables as well as grains like quinoa and bulgur. These foods are rich in bulk and fiber so satisfy hunger for longer periods of time.
Cinnamon Toast Breakfast Quinoa recipe: http://www.ferventlyfitwithcharmaine.com/cinnamon-toast-breakfast-quinoa/
2. Use a Smaller Plate. When you have a smaller plate, you are forcibly limited by its capacity. So having a smaller plate means you need less food to fill it. This simple thing in turn encourages proper portion sizes and not the giant sized portions we consider normal in this part of the world. Neat, huh? Here is another tidbit, fill your small plate with salad and veggies first then move on to the entree and dessert. Interestingly, eating a salad before the meal succors the consumption of less calories.
3. Take 10. You are eating delicious food. You should enjoy every morsel’s flavor, texture, and taste. So eat slowly, savor the culinary experience, make it last. By doing this, you not only having a more elated eating experience but also, give your body and mind an opportunity to have time to communicate. Give your gastrointestinal tract a chance to send messages back to your brain about your satiety status. So, you’ve eaten slowly and thoroughly enjoyed the explosion of flavor blowing your tastebuds away, now it is time to access whether or not to go for SECONDS. This is where you stop, think, and take 10. Take 10 minutes to see if you truly are still hungry. Give yourself time to assess the situation and your body will tell you if you have a green or red light for those seconds.
4. Don’t Leave the House with an Empty Tank. Have you ever notices that you tend to buy tons of items not on your shopping list whenever you go to the store hungry. I know that the worst time for me to go grocery shopping is after working a night shift in the Emergency Department because I have a double whammy working on my biology of fatigue and hunger. Of course, I inevitably buy a bunch of items that I otherwise would not have. So one trick is to eat a piece of fruit (there is that fiber rich food source again!) before you go to the store or dinner or the office party. Excellent pre-party snacks combine complex carbohydrates with protein and unsaturated fat, like apple slices with peanut butter or a slice of turkey and cheese on whole-wheat pita bread. Try it it works like a charm.
5. Keep Your Distance and Watch Out for the Drinks. Well, there is a simple fix for that. Distance yourself from the food table. You are less likely to graze if you have to make an effort to cross the room to get to it. The other thing is be mindful of your drink consumption, in particular alcohol. These libations are not without a cost, and are often very expensive in caloric currency. Keep in mind that it is never a good idea to consume alcohol on an empty stomach so make sure that you eat prior to indulging ;). But how many calories are we talking about? A glass of eggnog can set you back 500 calories; wine, beer, and mixed drinks range from 150 to 225 calories. So, if you are watching your calorie consumption, this turns out to be pretty expensive indeed. Be sure to drink a glass of water or juice flavored seltzer between alcoholic drinks. Of course, it goes without saying but I will say it anyway, if you are going to drink alcohol, drink responsibly.
So, hopefully these hacks are helpful to you. Please feel free to download the COMPLIMENTARY HOLIDAY HEALTHY EATING CHECKLIST before you go.
Share this blog post with a friend, comment below, use the checklist and thoroughly enjoy yourself in a healthy happy way this holiday. I wish you blessings in abundance and incessant joy!
Be strong. Be brave. Unleash your greatness!
Wife to an amazing entrepreneurial scientist, mom to 3 vivacious homeschooled cherubs, full time nocturnist in the Emergency Department and lover of fitness. Did I mention that I survived occupational burnout through discovering my wellness and then paying it forward to others? In the last three years, I have found that by working on personal development and taking back 2% of the day can result in the ultimate transformation of mind and body. Now I do consulting for a genetically based nutrition company, teach group fitness and virtual fitness coaching.