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Posts Tagged ‘ Thanksgiving ’

Diet mistakes not to make on Thanksgiving

Below is my blog post for Huffington Post “5 common diet mistakes not to make on Thanksgiving.”

You can also read it HERE.

‘Tis the season for overeating. This is the time of year that many of us give up healthy eating and tend to overindulge. However, with some smart planning and helpful tricks, the holiday season can be a time to enjoy special foods in moderation while still eating healthfully and not gaining weight.

Having spent the greater part of my career advising clients on weight loss, I have come up with common mistakes people make on the holidays that can derail their diets. Here are five common diet mistakes not to make this Thanksgiving.

1. Going hungry and skipping breakfast and lunch.

Many people skip early meals on the day of Thanksgiving in an attempt to “save up” calories and use them later. My advice: Don’t do it! You just may end up eating more. One trick to help keep your eating in check at the Thanksgiving meal is not to go hungry early in the day. It is OK to eat lightly, but I suggest you include some protein and fiber earlier in the day. Enjoy a yogurt with fruit or eggs and a slice whole wheat toast for breakfast and perhaps a salad with some kind of protein at lunch (beans, legumes, fish, chicken, hummus). Eating something before you get to the party will prevent you from being famished when you arrive at your guests’ house. It will be easier for you to pass up the high caloric appetizers, many of which you probably do not even like.

2. Wearing loose-fitting clothes

One sure way to avoid overeating is to wear form fitting clothes. When you wear loose clothes, you may not register that you are full, making it easier to overeat. Wear pants with a belt, a form fitting skirt, or your snug skinny jeans. These clothes will signal that you’ve had enough.

3. Treating Thanksgiving like your Last Supper

Thanksgiving is just one meal and I suggest that you not treat it like The Last Supper. Interact with the company, eat slowly, and savor holiday treats. I suggest that you enjoy your favorite foods in moderation, but I do think you need to exhibit some kind of portion control. While it is okay to fill up on salads, veggies, and turkey without meticulously worrying about amounts so much, I do suggest that you watch your portion of starch and do not eat every type of food available. Choose between the stuffing, sweet potatoes, and rice, and try to eat a portion that is around 1/2-1 cup (no larger than your fist), and making up no more than 1/4 of your plate. You can always get more turkey and salad if you are still hungry, and it’s best to save room for your favorite dessert.

4. Starting a diet and banning all treats

The holiday season is NOT a time to start a diet and to ban all of your favorite foods. While I do suggest that you avoid your trigger foods — foods that you tend to eat too much of — it is not a time to ban all foods, especially your favorite holiday treats. As a nutritionist, I think it is perfectly ok to have one portion of your favorite starch — approximately a half cup portion of rice ,stuffing, or sweet potato; and one small piece of your favorite pie. Skipping these foods entirely, may end up causing you to feel deprived which can end up leading to overeating later.

5. Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach

While it is unrealistic to say that you will not drink at all on Thanksgiving, I suggest that you choose to enjoy a glass of wine or your favorite cocktail with the meal. Drinking alcohol tends to decrease your inhibitions and if you drink early on, you may end up overeating and having several drinks. Looking forward to a drink with dinner is the best way to avoid eating too much.

We would love to hear your common Thanksgiving mistakes and some tricks that have kept your weight in check.

Wishing you a happy — and healthy — holiday season!

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Thanksgiving mistakes not to make this year

Blow is my latest blog post for Huffington Post “5 Thanksgiving mistakes not to make this year.”

You can read it HERE.

As a nutritionist coaching clients on weight loss, addressing common Thanksgiving pitfalls can help keep weight in check and help start off the holiday season on the right foot. With temptations all around us, making healthy and smart food choices can be challenging. Indeed, the average Thanksgiving meal is estimated to range from 2,500 calories to 4,500 calories, both estimates being too high in calories.

Here are five common mistakes to avoid. The aim is to enjoy your favorite foods without gaining a pound.

1. Skipping breakfast
It is important to eat a healthy breakfast the morning before the big feast. So often, when people skip breakfast they think they can eat more later in the day. You are often also very hungry if you skip breakfast altogether.

The fix: Eat a healthy breakfast that includes a serving of protein, fruit, and healthy starch. A great choice is yogurt and berries topped with a whole grain cereal.

2. Wearing loose fitting clothes
When you wear loose clothes, it is common to keep eating… and eating without it registering.

The fix: Wear form-fitting clothes. Your clothing should not be uncomfortable or too tight but they should be fitting. Wearing a belt is also a good idea. If you feel the need to unbuckle your belt, you’ve probably eaten too much.

3. Eating 1,000 calories worth of appetizers
It is not uncommon to eat over a thousand calories when choosing the WRONG appetizers. And this is before the meal. When you nibble on franks in a blanket, cheese and crackers, and potato knishes, for example, you can easily consume upwards of a thousand calories if you do not pay attention.

The fix: Choose crudite such as carrots, red peppers, and celery, which are high in fiber and low in calories. And top the veggies with hummus or a healthy dressing.

4. Eating too much.
As a nutritionist helping real people who like to eat lose weight, I believe all foods can be eaten in moderation over the holidays and now is not a time to start a diet. However, going back for doubles or triples and overfilling your plate is a likely culprit for why you gain weight over the holiday.

The fix: Practice portion control! Here a few visuals from my book The Portion Teller Plan to help you eyeball a proper serving so that you don’t overdo it this holiday. If you can stick to these portions, you don’t need to worry about calories.

  • A deck of cards worth of turkey is around 3 oz.
  • A golf ball size of gravy is about ¼ cup.
  • A golf ball size of cranberry sauce is about ¼ cup.
  • A ½ baseball worth of stuffing is around ½ cup.
  • A ½ baseball worth of sweet potato is around ½ cup.
  • A shot glass worth of salad dressing is around 2 tablespoons.
  • And ok to enjoy an unlimited portion of nonstarchy vegetables.

5. Drinking too many liquid calories — that includes alcohol and soda.
Having several alcoholic beverages, eggnog, and sugar sweetened drinks including soda along with your meal can easily pack on unnecessary calories. I would much prefer that you eat your calories rather than drink them as liquid calories.

The fix: Do not drink on an empty stomach and allow yourself to enjoy one glass of wine or a wine spritzer with the meal. Skip the soda and choose water or sparkling water instead.

Wishing you a happy — healthy — Thanksgiving and holiday season.

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