The holidays are upon us…the time of year when overeating is part of the tradition. But with a little pre-planning and a commitment to staying on course, this holiday season can be a healthier one. Here are some tips to keep you focused.
- Be realistic. Don’t set yourself up to fail. Shift your goal from weight loss to weight maintenance during the holidays.
- Have a game plan. Dieting through Thanksgiving doesn’t have to leave you feeling deprived. With a little pre-planning, you can have a healthy and happy holiday dinner.
- Have doggy bags ready. Send your guests home with those tempting treats that might otherwise live in your fridge.
- Eat slowly. It takes 15 minutes for your brain to register that you’re full. Savor your food, drink lots of water and slow down. Water is a dieter’s best friend, helping control your appetite by making you feel fuller faster.
- Eat before the party starts. Don’t go to dinner starving. Eat a healthy breakfast and a low-calorie snack before hitting the holiday buffet. You’re less likely to overeat if you’ve got your appetite under control.
- No seconds. If you eat slowly and drink plenty of water with your meal, you shouldn’t feel the need to go for seconds.
- Avoid finger foods. Nibbling before, during and after the main meal is a recipe for tummy trouble!
- Choose white meat. White-meat turkey is one of the best low-fat protein sources for the dieter.
- Drink alcohol in moderation. Better yet…stick to water!
- Make healthier choices & practice portion control. Fortunately, many holiday staples fit well into a healthy diet. Turkey is a great source of protein, and sweet potatoes are loaded with fiber and vitamin A.
- Get active. After dinner, take a walk instead of crashing in front of the TV.
- Stay on schedule. If you have a workout schedule, don’t let the holidays derail it.
- Don’t use exercise as an excuse to indulge. On average, you need to walk one mile to burn about 100 calories (15 minutes at 4 mph). It takes only 2 seconds to consume 100 calories of food.
Above all, remember that the holidays are about more than mashed potatoes…they’re about family and friends. Have a happy and health holiday season!
Christopher S. Grady, MD
Attending Physician, OB/GYN
A native of the Louisville area, Dr. Grady received his undergraduate degree from Translyvania University, then graduated from the University of Louisville Medical School, followed by an OB/GYN residency at the Medical College of Georgia. He provides care for women of all ages, including general and high-risk obstetrics and a wide range of gynecological care. He has three boys and is a member of the Southern Indiana Chamber of Commerce and Northside Christian Church