The period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is a season filled with food and drinks that — although very tasty — threaten to increase your waistline.
Ellen Purvis, Outpatient Dietitian for Adena, has some advice that can help you avoid packing on that extra weight during the holiday.
Purvis assists those referred from a doctor’s office, whether because you need to lose weight for surgery, have been newly diagnosed with diabetes, or suffer from celiac disease. She also knows how you can celebrate the holidays while practicing moderation.
One tip that applies throughout the year is to watch the size of your portions.
“The first thing I suggest for everybody is going into that day, especially with Thanksgiving and Christmas, is not thinking ‘I know I’ll eat a big meal later, so I’m saving up all my calories and won’t eat breakfast,’” she says.
Doing that sets you up for failure.
Instead, eat breakfast as you normally would. If not, you may find yourself snacking, and rationalizing it with the fact you skipped breakfast.
“Just get in the habit of knowing your family’s gathering spot,” Purvis advises. “My family? We all hang out in the kitchen. So, when you’re standing in the kitchen, don’t go directly where the appetizers are. Make yourself a plate and move away from that table, so it reminds you you’ve already had some.”
It works, she says.
“It’s hard to tell how much you’ve eaten when you’re snacking off a table,” she notes.
When you’re done, put the plate in the sink or trash.
But what do you do when someone offers a piece of pie, cake or other dessert after dinner?
“Get in the habit of saying, ‘The dinner you made was so good, I just don’t have room for dessert right now,’” Purvis says. “Blame it on your stomach. And you’re giving someone a compliment on the food they did make.”
But these are the holidays.
“If you do want that piece of pie, maybe get it yourself. You control how big the piece is,” she adds.
Don’t knock yourself out if you enjoy a second piece.
“It’s one day,” she says.
But there can be a lot of “one days” during the holidays, if you’re not mindful.
“It does add up,” Purvis says. “If you know you are a very social person, most of the time the foods tend to repeat themselves. Get in the mindset of, ‘This isn’t the only time I’ll get to eat this food; I’ll have it again in a few days.’”
The holiday menu can also include plenty of beverages that contain alcohol.
“Obviously, do that in moderation,” Purvis advises. “If I’m hanging out with my three sisters, if I have that glass of wine in my hand, I’m going to drink it a lot quicker than if I set it down between sips.”
Place your glass on the kitchen table or counter. Out of hand, out of mind.
“You’re going to nurse that drink a bit longer, and make sure you drink something other than alcohol. Go for a few glasses of water between your drinks so you stay hydrated,” she says.
Drinking water can also help fill you up, so that you don’t want another glass of wine right away.
Be aware of the sugar often found in holiday punches. Purvis suggests using diet or sugar-free mixers.
When it comes to snacks, be sure to offer a wide range of munchies.
“Maybe you offer to bring the veggie or fruit tray,” she suggests.