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Celebrity nutritionist JJ Virgin offers tips to avoid holiday bloat

Robin Wulffson MD's picture
JJ Virgin, holiday meals, healthy diet, weight control

The holidays are upon us once again and many families will stuff one more turkeys during this time and also stuff family and friends with holiday meals. Celebrity nutritionist JJ Virgin has tips to reduce holiday bloat this year. She is an author, speaker and media personality. Her next book, The Virgin Diet, will be released in December 2012.

Five effective lateral shifts to skip the seconds this Thanksgiving

Take a nap. You get sleepy from eating too much, so stop blaming the turkey. Relieve post-meal drowsiness with a short snooze. One study showed that a 30-minute nap promotes wakefulness, enhances performance, and improves learning. It also guarantees, for a little bit at least, that you don’t go face-down in leftover maple cheesecake with roasted pears for a mid-afternoon snack.

Get your brain going. Flip off the blaring TV and go old school with classic board games for entertainment. Scrabble or charades challenge your mind so you’re not thinking about that leftover apple crumb cake your mom made. If you’d rather stimulate your brain solo, crossword puzzles or sudoku make smart ways to distract you from the kitchen’s siren call.

Take a long walk. You sit a lot on Thanksgiving: while eating, browsing online for after-holiday bargains, watching football… A brisk walk breaks that sedentary behavior and gives you an excuse to get some fresh air and (at least for a while) escape the overwhelming extended family. One caveat: you’re not going to burn enough calories walking to earn that second piece of pie, so don’t use that as an excuse to subsequently pig out.

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Play, don’t watch, football. Unless it’s pouring, snowing, or otherwise inclement weather, you have no excuse not to enjoy the great outdoors on Thanksgiving. (And no, I ate too much apple crostata is not a valid excuse.) A fun game of touch football provides a fun way to let off familial tension (you know about that, right?) and burn some fat while you are at it.

Email or call friends and family who impact your life and thank them. A study in the journal Psychiatry showed people who kept a gratitude journal experienced high well-being compared to the other two groups who wrote about neutral or negative experiences. In the frenzy of food and festivities, we forget Thanksgiving was meant to, well, give thanks. Make your own gratitude list. Remind your family and friends who’ve gathered how much you appreciate them. And surprise someone who’s shown you kindness with a thank-you phone call or email. You’ll feel great, with no lingering regrets like you’d have with that second piece of caramel pecan pie.

JJ Virgin also has a Christmas tip. Stuff stockings with Emergen-C Kids, rather than Hershey’s Kisses and Santa-shaped Russell Stover chocolate that spoil your kids’ appetite. You’ll give the gift of health rather than sugar overload and the ensuing nauseating regret, and that’s something for which everyone will thank you.

About JJ Virgin:

She speaks at major integrative medical conferences, appears regularly in the media, including on The TODAY Show, Dr. Phil, and Access Hollywood.. She is the bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, creator of the 4X4 Burst Training Workout and co-star of TLC's Freaky Eaters and Discovery Fit & Health's Transformation Diaries. Her next book, The Virgin Diet, will be released in December 2012.

Reference: JJ Virgin