Holiday season is coming up and a lot of people start freaking out! They exaggerate their work out by overdoing their exercise routine thinking “if I do an extra hour of cardio, I can eat and drink twice as much without affecting my weight.” So, they start packing in lots of carbs and alcohol by Thanksgiving in the belief that they are still safe because of the extra cardio they do every day. Wrong! When they climb onto the scale the disappointment arrives because that is when they realize they have an extra few pounds on them. Then the complaining and whining starts… why? “I just did two hours last week every single day! I don’t understand! This is so unfair!”
My friend, I did that all the time, and I came to the conclusion that the way it works is more complex than that. You don’t have to be afraid of the turkey or to avoid your social life; you just need to learn how to make smart decisions when enjoying the celebrations. I’m not talking about starving yourself to death or torturing your eyes while watching others feasting as if there is no tomorrow, ha ha… What I’m going to tell you is how to attend the parties and have fun without guilt the next day.
Let’s talk about Thanksgiving.
Hosting the party, so you are in charge of the cooking and you can make a few changes.
- For example instead of the famous green beans casserole, you could steam the green beans and then for additional taste put them in a pan with a little bit of olive oil, garlic, sea salt and pepper. And voila! You have a great healthy side dish.
- If your family is one of those that MUST have mashed potatoes, you may replace them with sweet potatoes, adding low fat butter-substitute and a touch of cinnamon.
- Try to bake your turkey without the stuffing. Use instead spices, onion, garlic, natural orange juice, vinegar, leeks, scallions, carrots, etc. to enhance the flavor. You’ll be surprised how delicious a turkey can be without all that fattening stuff.
- For dessert there are many healthy options like homemade fruit pies. Here is an idea, my mother in law’s famous low-calorie strawberry pie. All you’ll need is a multi grain crust, sugar free jell-o and fresh strawberries. You can even add some light whipped cream.
Second and more complicated scenario:
You are a guest.
- There is going to be a lot of food on display on the table. Don’t be afraid, use your good judgment, and remember how tough it is to burn calories so, be smart.
- For example, before going out have a small healthy meal so, when you arrive to the party you’ll be able to skip the appetizers. But, if you don’t have time to eat before getting there, focus on the shrimp cocktail, smoked salmon, veggies, or fruits instead of the nachos and creamy dips.
- Try to drink as little alcohol as possible. Have just one glass of wine and sip it, don’t drink it. Hold the same glass graciously in your hand all night long, so nobody will push you to drink more. Make sure you drink plenty of water; ask the hostess for the biggest available glass and fill it with iced sparkling water.
- When the time comes to sit at the table and eat, don’t forget to include in your personal prayers to ask God to give you the willpower to survive the dinner… lol, just kidding.
- Little trick: sit next to someone who won’t pay attention to what other people eat in order to avoid the pressure. Focus on people and not on the food. Talk, not eat.
- To control meal portion size, pick an 8 inches plate if you are a woman and a 9 inches plate if you are a man; since you don’t carry a measuring tape in your pocket, it looks approximately like salad plate.
- When the food starts circulating you can have a little bit of everything. It is all about moderation, but if you are really smart, let the worst foods pass by and stop the ones you know are less harmful like the steamed vegetables and sweet potatoes.
- Regarding the gravy, my advice would be the same as with anything else that contains sauces or gravy – “always on the side and as little as possible”.
- Always pick the white meat without the skin.
- The rolls, the corn bread, the muffins, and anything of that sort are a big NO, NO, NO!!!!! No exceptions here!
Remember this is a beautiful time to be thankful for all the things that we have, and especially for all our achievements of the year, in particular our journey to lose weight… it’s not over yet!