Wednesday, November 20, 2013

10 Tips to Avoid Gaining 10 Holiday Pounds


Tis the time of year where people start saying “this year will be different!” “This is the year I stay healthy during the holidays!” “I’m not going to wait until New Years to lose weight!”

Thanksgiving begins a 5-6 week stretch of being constantly surrounded by festive cocktails, decorated cookies, and decadent sauces. So this year, instead of telling yourself you’ll diet through the holidays, try eating smarter instead of feeling deprived.

1.       Drink Water. Drink a lot of it. Not only will water make your skin glow nicer in that holiday dress, it will flush excess water stored in the body (aka- bloating) and make you feel fuller and snack less. Drinking a full glass of water 20 minutes before a meal will help your body differentiate between thirst and hunger.


2.       Watch alcohol calories. On the low end, a glass of wine or sparkling champagne will cost you 120-150 calories. But that spiked eggnog? That could be the equivalent of a small meal! Be conscious of your beverage choice and it could save you a few hundred calories.
 

3.       Make smart swaps at dinner & parties. Here’s some examples of easy swaps that will leave you satisfied:
- 4 oz white meat w/o skin 195 calories vs. 4 oz dark meat with skin 400 calories

-Pumpkin pie w/ low fat whip cream 335 calories vs. Pecan pie 450 calories

-Substitute coconut or almond milk in recipes or coconut oil for butter

Think smart, not skinny. Eat your fill of meats and vegetables. Flavor sides with garlic, lemon and herbs, rather than cream, cheese, and butter.
 

4.       Sloooooooow dooooowwwwnn. It takes 20 min for your stomach to tell your brain it’s full. Most people will finish an entire plate of food in less than 10. It’s no wonder we think we need seconds! Our body can’t keep up with our mouths. Try setting your fork down in between each bite. And even if you eat all your food a little too fast, don’t allow yourself to reach for more until that 20min is up. Then reassess. 
 

5.       Banish the bread bowl. Trust me- I know how much this sucks. I love bread. I know you love bread. Did you know there’s a chemical reason you love bread? Gluten- the main protein that composes wheat, attaches to a receptor in our brain that opiates attach to. It’s one of the only foods that does that, and that’s why we get that wonderful feeling in our hearts when we think of a warm basket of bread. So don’t even start the downward spiral! Eliminate it from the menu if you can. And if you can’t- consider it off limits.

 
 

6.       Exercise that day. The closer to the party/meal that you can comfortably exercise, do it. Just enough to get your heart rate up and maybe even a little sweat. This will release feel good endorphins that will keep you from turning to food for comfort. It also makes you eat more consciously.
 

7.       Don’t starve yourself up until the big event. Unless you are eating Thanksgiving at 11am, it’s a good idea to have a small, but substantial breakfast. Something like an egg sandwich or oatmeal with nuts and berries is a great meal that will start your metabolism for the day. It will also keep you from being so hungry by the time you sit down to eat- that you won’t scarf down your plate in 3 minutes. (Remember rule #4?)
 
 

8.       Quality beats quantity. Whenever possible, keep in mind which vegetables are high on the pesticide list and therefore should be eaten organic. Some of the major pesticide ridden holiday favorites are: potatoes, carrots, celery, spinach/greens, and apples. Organic poultry can be incredibly pricey- but if you have a source of local meat that was able to live a normal poultry life- it will reflect in tastier meat. Same goes for eggs and dairy. Local and organic will produce tastier and healthier dishes.
 

9.       Add root vegetables and parsley to the meal. My favorite is cubed up turnips, beets, and sweet potatoes roasted with olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs in an oven at 400 degrees for 45min. Beets and parsley are great because they stimulate the body to release necessary enzymes to digest food properly.
 

10.   Fill you plate like a caveman. Have you heard of this whole “paleo thing”? It’s a trending diet that suggests eating like our ancestors did, limiting the amount of grains and legumes. So try to fill half your plate with vegetables, ¼ with meat, and then if you really need that stuffing or cornbread- put that in the last ¼ of the plate.
 

It may seem like a lot of rules, but most of it is common sense. And if you come across something that completely breaks all of the rules, then follow the advice that the wise Mariah Carey once gave me (not in person- on the Ellen show in case you were wondering). Only have 1 bite, and savor the heck out of it!

Want to know what I’m eating this Thanksgiving?

I’m a fan of a few classics like a well cooked turkey and a flavorful pumpkin pie. But I really enjoy playing with the sides! Some of these don’t follow “the rules” but don’t get all sassy with me… I’m human too ya know J




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