“When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you;
And put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite.
Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food” (Proverbs 22:1-3 NKJV).
What can one little holiday dinner do? A lot. The average woman who eats 2,000 calories on a normal day may find herself indulging in 4,500 calories and over 200 grams of fat—at one huge meal!
According to The New England Journal of Medicine, many Americans gain as much as five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Often that extra weight is likely to stay with us longer than it took to put it on.
Some nutritionists suggest starting around the beginning of December by cutting 100-300 calories per day so you can splurge a bit during the holidays and still fit into your clothes on January 1st! It can be as simple as not adding the extra cheese on a sandwich, or forgoing the afternoon coffee drink. Have an apple instead.
Seven Quick Eat-Smart Tips:
- Decide you will not sample foods when cooking or wandering through the kitchen.
- Don’t cook on an empty stomach. Instead, enjoy a good breakfast first to stave off hunger.
- Take your vitamins with a big glass of water after breakfast. Taking your supplements early in the day ensures your body is getting the nutrition it needs. Your body will be less apt to crave empty calories, and you’ll have more energy, too.
- Have water or seltzer water with flavored stevia handy as you start cooking. I like adding a few drops of vanilla flavored stevia sweetener to a glass of seltzer water. It tastes just like cream soda, but without the sugar, calories or chemicals.
- During the day, pop some gum, a breath-freshener strip or brush your teeth to keep from snacking. One study showed that about 10% of the extra calories from holiday meals are consumed before the actual meal itself.
- Peppermint oil helps curb your appetite. A recent study by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush at the Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia evaluated hunger levels and food intake of participants who inhaled peppermint oil and those who did not over a two-week period. Those who inhaled the peppermint oil consumed an average of 3,000 fewer calories per week (approximately 23% less than those who did not inhale the peppermint oil!). Those who used the oil indicated that their hunger levels were significantly lower, too. You can get peppermint oil at most health food stores (and toothpaste can work in a pinch).
- At parties, go for the brightly colored vegetable and salmon appetizers and steer clear from dips, creamy sauces and anything light brown (usually means it’s fried).
It’s best not to announce to everyone what you’re doing if you want to “eat smart” during the Christmas and New Year’s festivities. It only makes them uncomfortable, and they may try to force you to eat something you know you’d be smart not to eat.
This doesn’t mean don’t enjoy some of the special foods you only get to see once a year. Just be smart about it. It’s said the first bite is usually the best, so choose carefully—and hopefully we won’t need to put the butter knife to our throat in Proverbs 23 fashion!
What do you think? Are there special “tricks” or decisions you make to keep from gaining weight over the holidays? Or maybe it doesn't matter – splurge a little because January 1st is right around the bend! Share your comments below! ~ LW