House Call Newsletter: Health News You Can Use

Roadmap To Healthy Holidays
Vol. 11.1.7

Recently someone asked me, "How can I stay healthy and not gain weight over the holiday season?"

You face many temptations over the next months. Here are some of the biggest hazards.

Food Pressure Galore

You come to the party with a plan to stick to your 400 calorie limit, but your aunt acts like she's going to slit her wrists if you don't take the giant piece of pecan pie. Or your family tradition is to eat multiple courses, so you are 'trapped' eating hundreds more calories than you want. Or another common one, Mom saying, "Eat, eat, eat!" Or what about peer pressure to have another chocolate brownie at work? Add your own here!

What to do about it...

1. Remember, only YOU can prevent over eating!!! At the end of the day, no one but YOU has to live with the excess calories that you ate.

2. Make sure to tell mom how good the food is and how wonderful aunt's pecan pie tastes, but just because it tastes GREAT doesn't mean you have to eat the whole pie yourself!

3. Make your own plate and control your own portion sizes.

4. If you are eating at a multiple course meal, rules are the same...only take a portion that is consistent with what you NEED to eat - not what will make others feel good.

Happy Drinkers

Nothing derails a nutrition plan faster than an over abundance of alcohol drinking. If you love to drink, ok with me - but understand that there are consequences (empty calories) associated with those drinks that could cost you weight gain! Calories from drinks contain little to no micronutrients or other nutritional value. Often, friends will drink and place pressure for others to drink with them..."don't make me drink alone" and "what's wrong, have a drink"...which can often lead to many more!

What to do about it...

1. I say drink, drink, drink - but drink water, juice or other favorites that have some healthy benefit.

2. Don't allow the 'environment' get the best of you...keep your alcoholic consumption well under control!

The "Heaping Plate"

Portion control, or lack of it, is responsible for many overweight issues. The food looks so good and there is so much of it! We all have been guilty of carrying a plate back to the table that we
could barely see over!

What to do about it...

1. Assuming that you've been eating healthy, small portion sizes up to the Holidays - you have a strong idea of what reasonable portion sizes are. The rules don't change - keep your portion sizes in mind as the food is passed.

2. You know protein, carbs and fat, so you allocate portions based on that. When you look at a food item, decide if it is primarily protein, carbs or fat. Chose accordingly. If you want to have ham and turkey, you must allocate such that the total amount of meat does not exceed a single portion size! Both are primarily protein. If you want to have mashed potatoes, yams and apple pie - again, you must allocate such that the total amount of meat does not exceed a single portion size! All are primarily carbs.

3. Don't eat a food just to eat it...only eat the items that you really find desirable! It's OK to pass the plate on!

4. News flash!!! It's OK to leave food on the plate!!!

5. Don't deny yourself of any food item that seems desirable, however, stack the odds in your favor by limiting portion sizes to small quantities.

6. If you eat too quickly, you over-load your tummy long before your brain senses that you are full. But if you eat slowly and enjoy each bite, you feel full much sooner and minimize the risk of over eating!!!

Happy Holidays to All!

To Your Optimal Health,

Special thanks to my personal trainer, Steve Elwell of Lifetime Fitness, for this helpful information!

Copyright © 2008 Melissa M. Dawahare, ND, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.