Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Turkey time is here again!

It's almost Thanksgiving and so begins the holiday season and with it comes celebration, family, shopping, stress and food... lot's of food... fatty, buttery treats full of cinnamon and nutmeg... and the wine that comes with it...  and by January 1st, most of us are wondering where that extra 5, 10, 15lbs came from.

Here are somethings to keep in mind and keep your waistline in check:

1) The holidays are about celebrating our loved ones. We can do this without eating our weight in mashed potatoes and gravy. It's not about the food, it's about the company you're with. Please keep this in mind and repeat it to yourself like a mantra.

2) The holidays can be stressful... create a healthy plan for how you can deal with this stress without eating an entire box of "Pot of Gold" and downing a carton of eggnog (and rum). Working out is a great way to relieve stress and physical exertion is a known way to reduce cortisol levels- Cortisol is the stress hormone that tells your body to store fat, particularly in the abdomen.

3) find healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes and offer to share them with your family. Check out the Crustless Pumpkin Pie recipe on my website

4) Create a new family tradition of going for a family walk after a big dinner, or maybe a game of soccer? Last Thanksgiving,  my family and I enjoyed a great game of soccer after dinner and everyone got involved. I remember that more than what we ate.

5) Enjoy your favorite holiday treats in moderation... if it's Dad's stuffing that you look forward to every year,  then allow yourself to have a small portion... but choose to skip the mashed potatoes and double up on your veggies. This way you won't feel deprived and end up over indulging later.

6) There is nothing wrong with Turkey... until you smother it in gravy and cranberry sauce. Save yourself a few hundred calories by skipping out on these condiments.

7) Say no to leftovers. If you're the one hosting, then send the leftovers home with your guests. If you're the guest... then say no to the goody bag. I know this is a double standard, but hey, it's your waistline, do what you have to do.

8) Don't go to parties hungry! Eat before you go.

9) Limit your alcohol. It's best if you can avoid it completely... trust me, it's not your friend in weight loss, but if you choose to indulge, limit yourself to 3 servings per week.

10) I know peer pressure to eat a certain way around friends and family can be overwhelming, but be strong! Stand up to *insert person here* who's trying to shove *insert fatty/sugary something here* down your throat and let them know that your health is important to you and that you'd appreciate their support. Their sabotaging behavior is about their insecurities and has nothing to do with you.

11) If you do slip up, don't beat yourself up for it. You're only human. Learn what you can from the situation and choose to do better next time. Then move on. That behavior of beating yourself up is part of the same negative behavior that leads to weight gain in the first place.

I think the most important thing to realize, is that there will always be reasons to lose site of your goals. There will always be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chanukah, New Years, Birthdays, Weddings,  promotions, grads, showers, fridays... your best friends third cousins wife's uncles 6oth birthday party to deal with, but you have a choice in how you deal with it. And it is a choice.

Trust me, the pain of saying no to temptation is only temporary. The pleasure of accomplishing your goals and living a fulfilling and healthy life is limitless. And come January 1st... you won't be making a weight loss resolution, and fighting for a treadmill at the gym, you'll just be carrying on, living your healthy lifestyle.... doesn't that sound good?

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