December 10, 2013

‘Tis the season to overeat

By: Kylie Noltemeyer

It is that time of year again. The three-month stretch of what seems like never ending holidays. The time of year where we give thanks, put up decorations, celebrate with loved ones, and most importantly, eat and eat and eat. Who doesn’t love holiday food? Sadly though, this love can often lead us down a dangerous (yet delicious) road. Tis the season of overeating.

It is during the holidays that we are at our weakest. It seems that a simple cookie can become our own personal kryptonite, destroying any kind of will power we may have had left. Resistance to our favorite foods feels almost impossible. There is the advice “just say no”, but lets be real, that is way easier said than done.

So how can we stay on top of our A-game this holiday season? I know there has to be an easier strategy. For help, I talked with family and geriatric medicine nutritionist, Nancy Kuppersmith. These were her five tips on how to beat the holiday munchies.

1. Stick to your routine. Kuppersmith said a major reason as to why we tend to put on a little extra weight during the holidays is because we are out of our normal routines. Our bodies are well-oiled machines that like to stick to a schedule. Still try planning out your meals in advance so you won’t find yourself desperately pulling into the drive-thru after a long day of shopping or visiting with relatives.

2. Know your weaknesses. You know which unhealthy, calorie filled foods get your mouth watering. These are the foods you should try avoiding. Kuppersmith suggests mentally prepare yourself before a meal. Basically, you need to think before you eat. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a little pep talk before hitting that Christmas dinner buffet.

3. Don’t blame it on the Alcohol. It wouldn’t hurt trying to steer away from alcohol or at least cut back a little. Not only is it empty calories, but also being under the influence of alcohol can make your will power more difficult to control. And during this time of year you need all the strength and self-discipline you can get. Besides, we all know milk goes better with cookies anyways.

4. Make it a meal: Try your hardest not to “pick” at party hors d’oeuvres, but instead step back and ask yourself “how can I make the most of what is in front of me.” Look for the big five: protein, grains, dairy, fruits and vegetables. Kuppersmith explained that by doing this your hunger will be more satisfied and you will be less likely to splurge later.

5. Distress and enjoy: The holidays can be a hectic time between dealing with in-laws, annoying traffic and expensive shopping. Take some time for yourself to relax. Holiday worries are not worth the binge eating. Kuppersmith says that when we are stressed, we tend to immediately cling to our unhealthy comfort food. Do yoga, take a bath, or just unwind with the family. Remember what this season is really about.

Celebrate and enjoy the holidays. They only come once a year. Stay healthy and don’t undo all the hard work you have put in up to this point. But also don’t stress yourself out over not eating all the foods you want to. A little bit of splurging is okay. Kuppersmith leaves us with this last bit of advice, “Be sure to still enjoy the food that makes the holidays, the holidays.” I know for me, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a piece of my mom’s famous apple pie. So, think and eat smart people and happy holidays.

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