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Best Advice for Holiday Eating

  • Eating

I don’t usually blog about weight, but here’s some great advice for holiday eating and sanity from an article entitled, “Can you enjoy the season without weight gain?” by Gabriella Boston (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 12/16/15, 13E). No preaching, I promise!
“It’s better to eat normally during the day [of a cocktail party] and not go to the party starving,” says Anne Mauney, RD, “adding that it’s hard to “slow down and eat mindfully when you’re starving.” Instead, she recommends eating a big salad with lots of protein during the day because cocktail party fare is usually carbs and sugars.
“Mindful eating includes noticing the smells, flavors, textures and colors of the food as well as eating more slowly. Along with more enjoyment, mindful eating has been associated with a better ability to self-regulate,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, RD.
Scritchfield suggests alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and showing up hungry for a sit-down dinner or buffet, then seeking out foods you really enjoy. Don’t go for the healthiest thing on the table if you’re going to feel deprived. Choose foods you love eat them mindfully. Don’t feel you need to finish everything on your plate because, she reminds us, “Food should bring us pleasure, not guilt.”
Additionally, she advises not to feel pressured under any circumstance to eat a food or quantity of food you don’t wish to. Set firm boundaries and don’t worry about what others will think about you or your choices. And she’s adamant about not trying to diet during the holidays which will put you into a deprivational mentality that is likely to kick up your rebellious urge to binge or overeat.

On a related note, don’t spend time focusing on how you look in the mirror, during the holidays or any other time. Researchers at Waginengen University in the Netherlands “found that paying too much attention to your appearance can impair your ability to tell when you’re full (“If you want to shed weight, avoid the mirror,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 12/16/14, 16E). They conclude that “the presence of mirrors as well as the confrontation with the sort of stigmas of beauty found in magazines were found to interfere with important mechanisms for properly assessing how much food to eat.” Says Erica van Herpen, assistant professor at Waginengen University, “When people focus too much on their exterior, they miss key signals of satiety.”

Consider healthy eating strategies that have worked for you during previous holiday seasons and ones that haven’t. Then do more of the former and less of the latter. Focus on doing the most loving thing for your body and you’ll get through the holidays just fine.