By Kathleen A. Viau, Dietitian Kenner Army Health ClinicOctober 29, 2015
FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 29, 2015) -- Just when people finally get their eating pattern under control, the holidays always seem to roll round bringing a cornucopia of food temptations. From the office to shopping, not to mention parties and Family events galore, it seems as if the Thanksgiving-to-New Year's celebration season is one long, tempting food fest designed to make everyone gain weight.
How can people beat this battle of the bulge? The Kenner Army Health Clinic recommends that people gain knowledge, not weight, this holiday season.
Here's what it takes to keep the pounds off.
Keep weight in check: Weigh yourself in the morning, at least once or even twice a week Monday and Thursday during the holidays. This is enough to notice any slight increase from the week and to keep people in check for the weekend and vice-versa.
Jump start the body's metabolism for the day: Get up and at it 15-30 minutes earlier and do some fun movement. Early morning workouts strengthen everyone's resolve for the day and revs up metabolism. Remember, energy creates energy physically and mentally. Consider purchasing a walking video, downloading a quick workout app, or "shaking it" with Hip Hop Abs or a Zumba video. A lot can be found on YouTube.
Be thrifty with calorie spending: Peruse the buffet table and only take the foods enjoyed once a year. Don't start with sushi, especially if eaten all the time, and expect to be able to resist the chicken wings, which most people love, but avoid. Eat what is loved in moderation to stave off those cravings that get you in trouble later. Don't waste calories on foods anyone can eat anytime.
Avoid food-orexia: Don't starve all day just to pig out at night. Eat lean protein and non-starchy vegetables throughout the day. It will keep blood sugar from dipping and spiking, and keep one full until the big event. The combo even gives calories to spare on an individual's favorite splurge.
Say "no" - and mean it. Empower willpower. Don't let others lessen your resolve. Each time someone says no it can strengthen them. But remember, the stress is in the resistance. So, if people have to say no too many times, it may be better to decline an invite. Having to resist too much can backfire.
Holiday parties are social times, but they shouldn't leave an individual feeling guilty and depressed. Enjoy the festivities and a few favorite treats and to those "eating-encouragers," have a few planned responses such as:
1. "No thank you, I'm full."
2. "No thank you, I am on a special program and it's really working for me. I'm excited at the results I am getting."
3. "No thank you, I've already enjoyed some of my favorite goodies."
4. Comment on the spread/decorations and party-planners efforts.
Many times, compliments are what they want, not necessarily caring about what's on the plate. For those persistent partiers pause, look them in the eye, and smile. Say something like, "Why do you want me to eat more than I want to?" That will usually stop their food-pushing. Remember, nothing tastes as good as healthy and fit feels.
Intensify workouts: Time is always in short supply during the holidays, but don't ditch a workout - just bump up the intensity to shorten the time. If one usually walks on the treadmill for 30 minutes, do 15 minutes of higher-intensity intervals. If going to the gym is cutting into shopping time, use shopping as a workout - take the stairs, park farther away, walk faster and after a purchase, take it to the car. When standing in line, do calf raises, contract and relax abs, use a purse as a dumbbell, stand up straight, tighten shoulder blades - get creative to avoid just standing in place scrolling thru a phone.
Practice the three-bite rule: Just have to have it? Take enough for three small bites - that amazing first taste, a satisfying middle and then a lingering finale bite - and savor each bite. All the bites after that will taste the same and just add calories. When all else fails, go on the "no thanks honey, I'll just have a bite of yours diet."
Avoid hangover food: Don't take leftovers home or send them home with others. If it's not in your house, it won't tempt you and others in your household. If Family members insist, tell them to portion out what they want and put it in the freezer. Non-perishables? Keep them up high in the cupboard behind the cornstarch. In moments of weakness, people generally go for what they see first. Out of sight, out of reach, out of mind, off the hips.
Keep healthy snacks readily available. Good options include fresh fruit in a bowl, dried fruits and nuts in snack packs, veggies and fruits cut up in the fridge, packs of tuna/salmon, yogurt and cheese sticks. Many times, snacking is about accessibility and visibility. Keep healthy snacks on hand, in sight, easy to grab 'n go.
Nutrition classes and counseling are available to beneficiaries enrolled at Kenner. All people need is a referral from their provider; it's easy as 1-2-3:
1. Contact your provider's nurse
2. Request referral to see the dietitian
3. Receive a phone call to set up an appointment time.