Fight holiday weight gain: Tips from Dr. Dean Ornish
Dr. Dean Ornish has some easy tips to help fight holiday weight gain. Statistics show most midlife weight gain comes from overeating at the holidays. Making healthy food choices throughout the holidays doesn’t have to be hard, but it does mean remaining aware of triggers that can lead to overeating.
Eat something before you go to a holiday party
One of the first things to fight holiday weight gain is eat before you get where you’re going. Otherwise, you’re likely to eat anything in sight when you arrive.
Go to the party a little late
Being ‘fashionably’ late for a holiday gathering means more of the indulgent food will be gone.
Pay attention to visual cues
Eating less at the holidays is harder when you’re handed or choose a bigger plate. Studies have shown weight loss efforts are more successful when we make small changes to our environment. A big plate is simply a visual cue to eat more. Place just two or three foods on your plate and try to serve yourself.
Put more fruits and vegetables on your plate. Dr. Ornish suggests if you add 20 percent more low calorie foods than high calorie you probably won’t notice the difference. Don’t put more than Then, eat the healthier foods first so you won’t overindulge in high calorie foods.
Choose food that leaves evidence on your plate. Examples include shrimp tails and chicken wing bones.
Don’t drink too much alcohol
Too many mixed drinks, beer or wine can slow metabolism and impair judgment. Try to go easy on the alcohol so you can maintain control of your food intake – drinking too much impairs judgment.
Skip the high calorie toppings
If possible, Ornish advises skipping the gravy and substitute for cranberry sauce that’s lower in calories and high in antioxidants. For potato toppings choose low-fat yogurt and non-fat sour cream in lieu of butter, cheese, bacon or sour cream.
Eat slowly and savor each bite
Eat slowly and savor your holiday meals. According to Dr. Ornish, “The faster we eat, the more we eat. Sip water between bites. Holiday meals last longer than typical meals. If you wolf down your food, your plate may be clean while others are still eating, which will lead to seconds.”
Eating slowly leads to more satisfaction with food. Savoring each bite can help us eat less to avoid holiday weight gain.
What about dessert?
There’s no need to avoid holiday desserts altogether, but instead of eating an entire serving, just take one or two bites. Dr. Ornish reminds us “the first and last bites are always the best, anyway.”
Avoid holiday weight gain by staying active. Even a stroll around the block helps burn calories, aids digestion and prevents bloating.
You can get more diet tips to from Dr. Ornish here.
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