How to Have Your Cake (or Turkey Leg) and Eat it, Too, This Holiday Season
Written by Dr. Larry
What do we really want at the holidays? We want to enjoy food — without adding poundage of adipose to our belly and thighs after a six-week season of gluttony and without the guilt.
Here are my tips on how to have your cake (or turkey leg) and eat it, too.
1. Make a plan.
Take a moment and ask yourself if you are OK with packing on the five pounds that many of us do from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
If you are, great. I want you to live your best life — preferably with elastic pants, because nobody needs to see Uncle Joe undoing his belt after any meal. Ever.
I suspect most of us want the best of both worlds — to enjoy food without gaining too much weight. So, let’s set that intention and begin to ask how we can do that.
At the end of this article, I want you to come up with an intentional plan of attack for that holiday bird. Honestly, just being conscious about it is the biggest victory.
2. Savor your bites. Slow down.
If you really want to enjoy food, then enjoy it. One bite at a time — not one plate inhaling at a time.
Not only does letting the food sit in your mouth provide you more enjoyment, but eating more slowly lets your body tell you when you are full. It takes your brain 20 minutes to register that your stomach is full and stop the hunger signals to eat (hormones).
In other words, that can often be 20 minutes of overeating. Slowing down to enjoy the food and company gives you a better chance of feeling full and not eating too much.
3. Add vegetables.
I love turkey and stuffing. And cranberry.
My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
But I know that the more vegetables I fill up on (always true, not just during the holidays), the more full I will feel, without big calories. Add some greens.
4. Can exercise be a part of your plan?
For those of us who allow higher carbs after lifting weights, I’ve started to lift before the big meal. It gets me mobile and out of the house and enables me to let go of the guilt because “my muscles need carbs to grow.”
Yes, a little bullshit in there. But even a walk around the block with the kids and/or throwing the football around with Granny (you better block for her to rumble, bro) can help.
5. Eat dessert. Take a day off, not a month.
After all, it’s the holidays. A time to enjoy.
That said, be careful not to eat dessert every day for six weeks, unless you are a Sumo wrestler in bulking season. How does your game plan account for the days before, after and between the big holidays?
“Oh, it’s the holidays; I’m not going to give a shit for six weeks.”
It is estimated that one pound is 3500 calories. It is not possible to eat 17,500 calories on a day and gain five pounds. Your weight may go up from eating salt (You eat salt: it goes into your blood stream and cells; to keep the water/salt balance intake, water follows salt into your body = you gain pounds of water weight in a day — water that will exit your system in a day or two when you clear the salt).
I suspect gaining five pounds in six weeks is more like saying “Screw it” to restraint for more than a day — more like a season. THAT’S where the pounds come in.
A plan that accounts for a day to enjoy at Thanksgiving and another at Christmas, without all the rest in between, isn’t going to pack it on like letting the wheels on the bus come off for the end of 2017.
OK, so what’s your plan? How can you have that turkey leg and eat it, too? Enjoy the holidays. Come Jan. 1, New Year’s Resolution time, you know I’ll be coming for you…