Wow, where does the time go! The holiday season (aka…peak time of overindulgence, stress, and travel) is finally upon us. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American will consume nearly 5,000 calories for Thanksgiving dinner and nearly 229 grams of fat.
And while that may cause anxiety and stress around weight gain for some, experts say that there’s no reason to fear wider waistlines as long as we’re equipped with a holiday game plan and make it a goal to practice strategies such as mindfulness, healthy substitutions, and, most importantly, movement!
Dr. Robert Silverman, tour-de-force NY ChrioCare sports nutritionist and author of the Amazon #1 bestseller “Inside Out Health” says that while the average American weight gain and indulgence in processed foods between Thanksgiving and New Year’s (2-5 pounds) may seem insubstantial, overtime it does add up and leads to health problems like obesity.
“Processed foods and other unhealthy diet habits can interfere with the dietary signals sent to cells throughout the body, which can lead to premature aging and disease,” Dr. Silverman says. “Addressing unhealthy patterns now allows you to manage symptoms, regulate blood sugar, reduce inflammation, and ultimately even halt or reverse the progression of illness.”
Silverman’s “Fantastic Four” Tools to Keep in Mind This Holiday Season:
- No matter how busy you are, do not skip exercise: “Always keep moving,” Dr. Silverman says. “Sitting is the new smoking.” And if there’s any time to exercise more, it’s during the holidays. It’s your best defense against holiday stress, weight gain, and seasonal depression. You don’t have to do a high-intensity workout or go on a 5 mile run to reap the medical benefits; just challenge yourself to do 10 minute bouts of exercise in increments throughout the day. The best exercises, such as squats, planks, yoga poses, lunges, and push-ups, do not require any special equipment and can literally be done anywhere.
- Don’t even THINK about fasting: Starving yourself by breakfast and lunch will only lead you to become ravenous by the time dinner rolls around. Eating normally, especially loading up on the magic three( lean protein, fruits, and vegetables) is the subtle, yet powerful trick that will prevent that unpleasant feeling of a spike in glucose levels.
- Start small: Always serve your food on smaller plates. This way you to put less food on your plate in addition to encouraging proper portion-size. Also, start by filling your plate with vegetables and salads before loading up on meat-entrees and desserts. The same principle goes for drinks. Use a tall skinny glass for your beverages. Studies at Cornell have shown that people are more likely to pour 30 percent more liquid into squatter vessels.
- Control your environment: Eat with a small group whenever possible. Sit next to a fellow healthy eater. Wait for all the food to be on the table or scan the whole buffet table before making your selections. Keep visual evidence of what you’ve consumed. In other words, keep the empty plates in front of you.
Happy Healthy Eating this Holiday Season!