Giving Thanks without Regret

11/18/2014

Giving Thanks Without Regret
Healthy Living - November 18, 2014
Amy Movius, MD


Next week is Thanksgiving, officially starting the holiday season that won’t end until 2015. Holidays are mostly wonderful – a time to focus on family and friends and appreciate what we have. They can also be a time of considerable stress and a tendency for excess. Many people gain permanent unhealthy weight this time of year, and it starts with the Thanksgiving feast. Having a plan for enjoying yourself without later regret can only make the holidays better. Below are some strategies for embracing the season - starting with thanksgiving - in moderation.

Increasing physical activity in the weeks before the holidays (now!) can keep the calories burning as can incorporating activity into the festivities. Taking a Thanksgiving family walk or other outing can be part of the tradition.

There can be a tendency to want to “save it” for later, it’s much more likely that you will go uncomfortably overboard at dinner with a too-empty stomach.

There is so much sugar and fat in many traditional thanksgiving dishes that you can trim down these ingredients (and calories) without noticing the difference in flavor. Aside from cutting down on the amount of sugar and fat used in recipes, opting for fat/sugar free ingredients – such as fat free broth – when available can reduce the caloric content without changing the taste.

Portion control is always a challenge with a sumptuous table spread before you. Eating mostly the really special stuff over “regular food” is one way to do this. Choosing white turkey meat, simple vegetables (instead of rich casseroles), roasted sweet potatoes (instead of marshmallow ones), mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie are all going to be on the healthier side of traditional thanksgiving fare. However, there’s no need to deny yourself favorites dishes if you limit the amount. Skipping seconds is obviously a good idea, too.

Limiting your alcohol consumption can have a huge impact on calories. While some of it relates to the empty calories alcohol contains, the more important effect is that excessive alcohol will discourage any physical activity and may also diminish your resolve to eat moderately.

The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed, not to feel deprived. Instead of trying to lose weight, focus on maintaining your weight and activity through the New Year. That way you are more likely to have many more happy and healthy seasons to come!

Reference:
10 Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving; webmd.com