April 20, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Hot Flash: Eat. Eat. Pray.

By Barbara Bishop

 Barbara Bishop

 

 

 

 

 

Every year, around Halloween, my mantra becomes Eat. Eat. Pray. I start with Halloween candy, move on to Thanksgiving dinner, continue with December cocktail parties, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas Day brunches and finish with New Year’s Eve dinner/New Year’s Day brunch. I eat, eat, and then pray that I haven’t gained weight. I believe in the power of prayer, but it can only go so far when it comes to weight loss.

According to Patrick J. Skerrett, former executive editor of Harvard Health, by eating just 200 extra calories a day – a piece of pecan pie and a glass of eggnog here, a couple of glasses of wine and some brie cheese there – you could pack on three to five pounds over this five- to six-week period. That doesn’t sound like much, except few people shed that extra weight in the following months and years. Skerrett also is the co-author of “Eat, Drink, and Be Healthy: The Harvard Guide to Healthy Eating.” The guy knows what he’s talking about.

Skerrett says you don’t need to deprive yourself, eat only boring foods, or take your treats with a side order of guilt. Instead, by practicing a bit of defensive eating and cooking, you can come through the holidays without making “go on a diet” one of your New Year’s resolutions.

He offers the following tips:

  1. Budget wisely. Don’t eat everything at feasts and parties. Be choosy, and spend calories judiciously on the foods you love.
  2. Take 10 before taking seconds. It takes a few minutes for your stomach’s “I’m getting full” signal to get to your brain. After finishing your first helping, take a 10-minute break. Make conversation. Drink some water. Then recheck your appetite. You might realize you are full, or want only a small portion of seconds.
  3. Distance helps the heart stay healthy. At a party, don’t stand next to the food table. That makes it harder to mindlessly reach for food as you talk. If you know you are prone to recreational eating, pop a mint or a stick of gum so you won’t keep reaching for the chips.
  4. Don’t go out hungry. Before setting out for a party, eat something so you don’t arrive famished. Excellent pre-party snacks combine complex carbohydrates with protein and unsaturated fat, like apple slices with peanut butter or a slice of turkey and cheese on whole-wheat pita bread.
  5. Drink to your health. A glass of eggnog is a whopping 500 calories; wine, beer, and mixed drinks range from 150 to 225 calories. If you drink alcohol, have a glass of water or juice-flavored seltzer in between drinks.
  6. Avoid alcohol on an empty stomach. Alcohol increases your appetite and diminishes your ability to control what you eat.
  7. Put on your walking shoes. Walking is a great way to work off some holiday calories. If you are at a family gathering, suggest a walk before the feast or even between dinner and dessert.
  8. Make room for veggies. At meals and parties, don’t ignore fruits and vegetables. They make great snacks and even better side or main dishes — unless they’re covered with creamy sauces or butter.
  9. Be buffet savvy. At a buffet, walk around the food table before putting anything on your plate. By checking out all of your options, you might be less inclined to pile on too many items without a plan.
  10. Don’t shop hungry. Eat before you go shopping so the scent of cookies or caramel corn doesn’t tempt you to eat treats you don’t need.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy holidays! Thanks for your interest in Hot Flash.

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