12 Tips of Christmas
Tis the season to be flabby! Uggh! With December’s parties, dinners and gatherings galore, it’s hard not to overindulge…and bulge! With that in mind, we’ve prepared some practical, common-sense tips ‘n’ tricks to help prevent you from over-stuffing yourself like a Butterball turkey. Here’s hoping you eat, shrink & be merry this holiday season!
- Make it “splurge-worthy.” When you get the urge to splurge on sugary, calorie-laden indulgences (and we all do!), rate the dessert or indulgence on a scale of 1-10. If it’s not at least a 9, don’t bother—it’s not worthy! There’s nothing worse than having to loosen your belt after eating a food that you didn’t really enjoy. Talk about waisting calories!
- The Japanese, who are known for their longevity, have a saying: “Hara hachi bu,” which basically means, “stop eating when you’re 80% full.” To help you out with this, try following the 20-minute rule: Don’t have seconds and don’t eat dessert. Wait 20 minutes. That’s how long it takes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s had enough. Instead of asking “Am I full?” ask yourself, “Is my hunger gone?” There’s a big difference. Listen to your “gut” instinct!
- Arrive in mint condition. At parties, try the essential oil of peppermint before you hit the appetizer table. Peppermint has been used for centuries to quell indigestion, gas and bloating. Even better, it’s an amazing appetite suppressant! One drop on the tongue or in some water will dull your taste buds and sugar cravings, plus you’ll be the most popular guest under the mistletoe!
- Eat before you meet. A half hour before a party, dilute your appetite with a fiber or protein-containing snack: a hard-boiled egg, some almond butter with apple slices, half an avocado or some nuts. Fiber and protein are your fat-loss pals! They’ll keep your blood sugar even-Steven and prevent crazy carby cravings.
- Be a double-fisted drinker! Say what? During the holiday season, alcohol’s empty calories can pack the pounds on just as much as over-eating can. Plus, it stimulates insulin, the dreaded fat-storage hormone. The solution? Get sloshed on H2O! Try having a glass of water with lemon for each alcoholic beverage you drink.
- The banquet is in the first bite! This tip works magic if you let it sink in. Remember that no other bite will taste as good as the first. Think about this when you’re about to scarf back a huge slab of cherry cheesecake or five of Aunt Marge’s famous shortbread cookies. Savor the first couple of delectable bites, then put your fork down. If you go on, you’ll be getting more calories, but not necessarily more pleasure. Halve your cake, and eat it, too!
- Chill out or fill out! Christmas can be a stressful time for a lot of folks. When you’re under stress, the hormones cortisol and adrenaline rise. These stress hormones make us hungry, especially for sweets. No wonder “stressed” spelled backwards is “desserts!” Those hormones also encourage your body to store fat around the middle, so ongoing stress can lead to a flabby abdomen—a flabdomen! During the holiday season, take time for yourself. Massage, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, listening to music, or even laughing are effective ways to turn off the cortisol tap.
- Do not exceed the feed limit! A common mistake people make is starving all day, hoping to “save” calories for that one big, honkin’ meal. But experts say that consuming more than 500-600 calories in a single sitting tends to shift your body into fat storage mode! Better to eat lightly through the day, having balanced snacks containing fiber and protein and good fats.
- Become a steeping beauty! Using herbs and herbal teas is a simple way to support the natural detoxification organs of your body. Chamomile, peppermint or lemongrass tea can help beat the bloated, upset tummies that often go hand in hand with holiday splurges. Warm lemon water is used in many ancient remedies to alleviate digestive distress, support liver detoxification, normalize digestive juices, and reduce intestinal bloating. Ginger tea has been found to soothe the digestive lining and balance gastric juices, making it a great remedy for overeating. My favorite? Throw it all together! Ginger, lemon and some mint leaves steeped in hot water with a touch of raw honey. Tea-riffic!
- Avoid portion distortion! The bigger the portion in front of us, the more we’ll eat. Researchers say simply switching from a 12-inch to a 10-inch dinner plate caused people to reduce their consumption by 22%! You don’t have to deprive yourself and feel miserable at a party or get-together. Just try sampling a LITTLE of the stuff you really, truly love. Savor the flavor big time, knowing that less is more.
- Dress for Success. This might sound like a bit of a stretch, but during the holiday season, don’t wear clothes that stretch! Lounging around in baggy sweatshirts and spandex pants may decrease awareness of body shape and encourage overeating. So don’t sweat it! Instead, wear your snuggest clothes that don’t allow much room for expansion. That’ll remind you not to overindulge on a regular basis. It works! Honest!
- After lunch sleep a while, after dinner walk a mile. The more physically active you are after a meal, the more energy from that meal your muscles will burn instead of storing it as fat. (Our Podleski family holiday get-together rule: BYOS: Bring Your Own Sneakers!) During the holidays, become a mover and a shaker! You know you’re bound to eat more (it’s a given!), so moving more is a no-brainer and a great balancer, helping you burn some calories, boost metabolism and human growth hormone, and balance hormones (stress hormones, along with metabolic ones like insulin and leptin).
Our best holiday eating tip of all? Eat with a happy heart that’s filled with gratitude. After all, it’s common knowledge that if you eat something with a smile on your face, it’s impossible to get fat! I repeat: Impossible to get fat! It’s been proven by modern science (wink!).