Secret Weapon To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
I read an article in the NY Times recently about the number of calories people consume at their Thanksgiving meal. One source suggested 4,500! Can you imagine? I'm not so sure it's that much, but I am certain that people do overeat. I've heard many post-Thanksgiving confessions over the years. Still feeling stuffed, sluggish and guilty, my clients come in after Thanksgiving with their stories of overeating and weight gain; and thoughts of a New Year's resolution.
With the New Year still weeks away, don't wait to take control of your eating and weight. I have a secret weapon to get you through the rest of the holiday season without another day of feeling stuffed and fat: make a plan. Yes - it's that simple. Come up with a plan and stick to it. You can make a plan for one meal or for every meal. You can do it for one day or for every day. The more you plan, the better you do. It's really that simple. I've seen it work time and again. The people who do the best are those who have a clear intention of what they want to eat during a meal (or a day) and follow through by making a plan.
For example, come up with a plan to control your portions. You don't need to give up all your favorite foods as long as you eat them in moderation. If you're thinking, "easier said than done" - read on. Here are some simple tips to help you plan for portion control at your next holiday meal - or any meal for that matter.
1. Fill at least half your plate with vegetables. This will leave less room for the higher-calorie items and add bulk to your meal, helping you fill up more quickly. Choose vegetables that are not heavily seasoned with butter, cream, sugar, and salt.
2. Use familiar items to estimate portion sizes. A deck of cards, for example, is about the same size as a 3-ounce piece of meat, poultry, or fish. A tennis ball is about the same size as a sensible serving of mashed potatoes or stuffing.
3. Reduce the amount of gravy and sauces you add to your meal. Typically these are high in fat and can easily add up to be an excessive amount of calories.
4. If you have a choice, select a smaller plate and a taller thinner glass than the others on the buffet table. This will give you the illusion of a fuller plate and an equivalent drink.
5. Start out by filling your plate with a sensible amount of food. And then wait at least 15 minutes after finishing your meal before you think about going back for more. Chances are you will feel satisfied and pass on a second helping.
6. Pace yourself throughout the meal. Eat slowly. Participate in the conversation. Take breaks to breath. This will give you a chance to enjoy the food and feel full. Don't be the first one to finish the meal. Instead, make a conscious effort to be the last one finished eating.
7. Pay attention to your body's cues. When you begin to feel satisfied, stop eating. Don't wait until you feel full; by that time you will have already overeaten.
8. And, of course, don't forget to make a plan to exercise; especially on the day of the big meal. Exercise can help to control your appetite so it's easier to follow through with your plan to eat controlled portions.
9. To further ensure your success, write down your intentions and track your progress. Use this monitoring form to help you enjoy your favorite foods in moderation and follow through with your exercise plan.
Having a plan can be your secret weapon to controlling your weight and health this holiday season. And there's nothing more important than good health. So, let the planning begin!
Lorraine Matthews-Antosiewicz, MS RD, is a food and nutrition expert specializing in weight management. She is committed to empowering people through education, support, and inspiration to make real changes that lead to optimal health and lasting weight loss. Sign up for her Free Consultation and receive expert advice on how to lose 20 lb. - or more. Jump Start your weight loss today! http://njnutritionist.com/freeconsult