A little Holiday Sauce

A LITTLE HOLIDAY SAUCE

Happy Holiday season folks! Thanksgiving is in the rearview and we are partying, turkey-ing and egg-nogging our way towards the Christmas / New Year’s bacchanal. Now is not the time for worrying about diets, denial, moderation and all of that crap! I’ll worry about that on January 2nd. I’ll start a diet & exercise plan then, and THIS TIME, it’ll work. I’ll be trim, healthy and fit by St. Patrick’s day….
….uh-huh.
Wake up.
Has this plan ever worked before?
Right.
You know the definition of insanity is, right?
Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
So, may I suggest a modest proposal. BTW, If you look up the short story A Modest Proposal, by Johnathon Swift, I promise you this has nothing to do with that short story, but it’s an excellently creepy tale in it’s own right.

First, the good news

The popular tale that most people gain a full size over the holiday season?
A myth.
 A study out this year from Texas Tech University followed 48 men and 100 women between the ages of 18 and 65 for the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. At the beginning and end of the study, researchers measured the subjects’ weights and body fat percentages. On average, the volunteers gained one and a half pounds (men about two pounds each, and about a pound for the women), far less than the 7 to 10 pounds often cited this time of year. However, that same study showed that half of the subjects were inactive and the other half worked out roughly five hours a week, yet both groups gained the same amount of weight. There are of course numerous benefits to working out that have nothing to do with weight, including lowering stress and improving sleep, so keep doing it, just don’t count on it as a way to cancel out your indulgences. Someone once said you can’t exercise away a bad diet, and that someone was right.
The “I’ll lose it in January” plan?
Bunk.
Studies show that most of us never lose that holiday padding, possibly because after abandoning New Year’s resolutions, many people gain back all (or more) of the weight they lose.

So. OK Bob,
Mr. Dietary Grinch-mas
What’s your super cool, super easy plan to keep the weight off?

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know there IS NO super cool, super easy plan.
There is what works, and that’s not usually as fun as the super cool, super easy plans which tend to be bullshit.
But here goes.

First, I want you to enjoy Thanksgiving. Enjoy Christmas. Enjoy New Year’s Eve.
They’re holidays. In return for putting up with relatives, you get some great, kick-ass, once a year type treats!
Holiday cookies
Dressing (not the kind with oysters. What are you, crazy?)
Green bean casserole with the crunchy onions on top.
Pie ( almost any pie is good pie. It’s almost like, well, you know…)
I’m not recommending those low-fat, low carb, low taste, “it’s almost the same thing” junk. Tofurkey is NOT Turkey. Cauliflower is NOT mashed potatoes. And the only thing that is sweet potato pie is FREAKING SWEET POTATO PIE!

Enjoy the holidays themselves. With the real thing.
But guess what? Every day between Thanksgiving and January 1st is not a holiday. I’m talking about 3 days in a little over a month. You have more cheat days than that during your “getting ready for swimsuits” diets in May. I’m on the first week of my Thanksgiving to Christmas diet. I keep a food diary (actually it’s one of those little notebooks I carry in my back pocket). I’m gonna enjoy the heck out of Christmas & New Year’s , just not every day between now & then. Make sense?
Next, the office / work place. My advice? Stash healthy foods in your desk at work so you’re not as tempted by the treats piling up at the office. Also, if there is something you just have to have, plan on taking it home and make it your dessert, or late night snack. At that point, you’re less likely to crave another piece, bite, whatever, especially if the whole box or pie is no longer around.
And don’t use the “I’ll get back to my exercise routine after the holidays” excuse. Why stop the healthy thing when you need it most? It boosts your metabolism, boosts your mood, boosts yourself esteem. It is so hard to get back started once you stop, for whatever reason.

Now for the day itself;
Don’t. Skip. Meals. Skipping meals during the day may result in overeating. It is especially important to have breakfast, as research shows that those who eat this important morning meal tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day.

Next, once the celebrations begin, be picky. If you can get that delicious party treat during the rest of the year, you don’t need it now! Enjoy the foods you really crave — the ones that come just once or twice a year.

Drink up: Enjoy nonalcoholic drinks between alcoholic beverages. You’ll stay hydrated and still be part of the holiday revelry. Also, I don’t know about you, but I make some of my worst, “I should go to the drive thru on the way home” decisions after a couple of adult beverages.. Oh, and along those lines,, avoid fast-food places that emphasize red in their color schemes. Red has been shown to stimulate the appetite more than many other colors, and many restaurants add it to their color scheme. I know, weird, huh?

During the big meal, Take 10 minutes before taking seconds. It takes a few minutes for your stomach to register that you’re full. After finishing your first helping, take a 10-minute break. Make conversation. Drink some water. Then recheck your appetite. You might keep from getting that over-stuffed feeling, or falling asleep on the couch in front of family. That can be dangerous, if your family is like mine.
And you might consider using smaller plates & utensils. No it’s true. In one study conducted at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, even nutrition experts served themselves 31 percent more ice cream when using oversize bowls compared with smaller bowls.

OK, that’s all for now. Take these tips and enjoy your holidays, and then enjoy being able to fit into your clothes on Jan. 2nd. You can have both!!
Talk later,
Bob

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