WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The holidays are notoriously a time for overeating and overindulging. So, how do you put on the brakes and be more mindful so that, come January, you're not worried about another 10 pounds?
DV: What are some ways to avoid overeating while still enjoying oneself?
Lisa D. Ellis: Slow down, have a plan and practice mindful eating. Some strategies:
- For a buffet, check out all the offerings before you decide what to put on your plate, saving space for the items you want most.
- Create a plate portioned with 1/2 containing vegetables/salad, 1/4 containing protein and 1/4 comprising the less healthy carbs, such as mashed potatoes or stuffing.
- Measure your dessert plate with 1/2 fruit and 1/2 sweet treats.
- If it’s a potluck, bring a healthy dish to an event so you know you have something healthy to eat.
- Stay in the present—be aware of the sights, sounds, smells, as well as tastes in your environment
- Pick three non-food goals for the event aside from eating (i.e. meet two new people, get to know a certain person better.)
- Rate your hunger before, in the middle and as the meal is winding down… stop at a level seven (on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being overly stuffed)
- Here’s a final tip... we tend to remember just the first and last bite of a dish, especially with treat foods. Why not limit portions to just two bites of a few choice items?
DV: Any specific tips for holiday parties?
LE: Pay attention to the types of offerings. Puff pastry offerings tend to be higher in carbs and fats, while foods on skewers tend to be more protein-based and contain less carbohydrates
Don’t underestimate the calories (according to the USDA) contained in holiday drinks and alcoholic beverages:
- Eggnog: 223/cup
- White Wine: 120/5 oz.
- Red Wine: 125/5oz
- Average can of beer: 154
Having a non-caloric beverage in between each alcoholic or sweet drink (i.e. eggnog) will reduce your overall caloric intake; plus keeping well-hydrated is always a good idea when drinking alcohol.
Don’t restrict what you eat before going to events…showing up to a party famished tends to result in overeating, not to mention drinking alcohol on an empty stomach.
A final note: If you do feel like you overdid it, don’t despair. Despite the fact that many people believe that the average weight gain during the holidays is something like 10 pounds, studies have shown that the average American actually gains less than a pound.
So, be mindful around meals, eat in a way that demonstrates a commitment to yourself... and have a great holiday.
For more information on Ellis and her practice, go to www.integratingnutrition.com .