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Enjoy the Holidays without weight gain...

So here we are again, holiday eating is about to begin. You want to enjoy the holidays and all that they offer, but can you do it without packing on the pounds? Yes, you can! And still eat your fav holiday foods --- and quite easily with a little planning. It all comes down to Portions and Choices. You DON'T have to cut out your favorite holiday foods. The trick is Portioning your plate.


1/2 plate if steamed/roasted/raw Green salads, carrots, green beans, brussel sprouts, etc...

1/3 plate if creamy/casserole type--watch out for creamy sauces, scale down your portions on those creamier veggies and load up on the raw, roasted and steamed versions.

Protein = 1/4 - 1/3 plate Turkey! White meat is lower on the fat and calorie count than dark meat. Keep it lean.

Other Carbs = 1/4 plate mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, dessert...1/4 plate TOTAL, not each serving.

Use the same plate portions for leftovers. Turkey sandwich with a large side of veggies anyone?

A word on Plate Size: Downsize your plate to trick your brain into thinking you are eating more. Note: the average number of calories eaten at a holiday dinner is a whopping 3,000 not including appetizers. If you use a salad plate or plate 8 - 10 inches in diameter instead of a 12 inch dinner plate, you will eat 30 percent less, cutting approximately 1,000 calories. Interesting Fact.

Other Tips:

  • Eat a healthy breakfast which includes a palm size serving of protein, or 2 servings if you are a male. No skipping breakfast especially the day of your holiday meal. If you skip, it will cause you to be over-the-top hungry (or HANGRY!) which turns your brain off to any sense or logic in regards to portion sizes and types of foods ravenously consumed...

  • Drink a glass of water before your meal and a glass of water following your meal. You will feel full much sooner, eating less overall.

  • Go for a 20 minute walk after your meal. Stay active during the holidays. Keep up on your workouts.

  • Keep your wine portion size to 5 ounces=125 calories. Don't be deceived! Many wine glasses tend to measure 10 ounces at HALF full!

Don't beat yourself up if you slip up and binge. Just remember to keep it to a "ONE & DONE" deal. Your body can recover from the single binge insulin load it creates to metabolize your binge, but if you continue to binge eat repetitively, many things can happen:

  • Your stomach will stretch out like a rubber band. When you eat past feeling full, you may have a bigger stomach than those who don't, leading you to need more food to feel full. Ugly Vicious Cycle...

  • Your body will increase its insulin creation to metabolize your food, could lead to storing excess as fat.

  • It messes with your hunger hormones ---- your hunger and fullness cues go awry... you always feel hungry even when you're not, etc.

  • With a high fat and sugar binge, the hunger hormone, ghrelin, remains elevated even after eating. You don't feel your hunger is satisfied and your brain doesn't know when to stop eating. There's also the feeling of addiction, because of the release of dopamine. Ghrelin also activates the dopamine pathway which regulates reward and motivating behaviors ---- when eating fatty and sugary foods, your ghrelin levels stay high, which helps release dopamine — you start to crave the delicious high fat and sugary foods because these foods make you feel good because of the dopamine released. Ugly Vicious Cycle...

  • It affects your sleep patterns. You could wake up in the middle of the night feeling hungry, or even wake in the morning feeling extra hungry, causing you to eat more. When you don't sleep well, you can become even more tired and grumpy, causing you to want to eat more. Ugly Vicious Cycle...

Adapted from "8 Scary Things That Happen to Your Body After a Holiday Food Fest"

Remember: Stay on at the regular times your body is accustomed to eating, sleep at the times your body is accustomed to sleeping. Balance. Moderation. Portion size. And most importantly, Forgive Yourself if you slip a little. Then get back on schedule.

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