Now that Thanksgiving is under our belts, you should excuse the expression, it is time to think about damage control for the eating days ahead.
I always advise clients to not attempt weight loss during the holiday season. My philosophy is that if one can maintain one’s weight during these challenging days, that is a real victory.
Realistically, holiday foods have so many meanings: family traditions, ethnic identity, memories of holidays past, and establishing new memories for new members of the clan- both relatives and friends. At times like these, it is important to participate and indulge…but with a strategy.
Listen to the signals your body sends you, and eat like the Okinawans—-eat until you are 80% full. You will feel so much more comfortable than if you eat until your sides are splitting. Eat colorfully, choosing to emphasize brightly colored vegetables and fruits, and see that they occupy half of your plate. Reserve one quarter of the plate for a starch, like potatoes, rice, corn, or stuffing, and place the protein component on the last quarter of the plate. Put condiments, on the side- including butter, gravy, and cranberry sauce.
Avoid sugary drinks like sodas, and limit alcohol: one drink for a woman, and no more than two alcoholic drinks for a man. Sample tempting desserts in modest portions, and avoid whipped cream if possible.
Finally, take a walk to help with digestion, and burn a few calories. All these suggestions reflect a mindful eating approach. Abstinence is not the goal. Rather, eating with awareness and selectivity is.
Relax and enjoy your holidays. Wishing you a healthy and happy holiday season, and more good things in the New Year.
Dateline: Latham, Albany County, New York