My heart goes out to persons who suffer from overeating. My daughter Janice has a dear friend whose weight trends noticeably upward. In other words every time I see her she is heavier. Even those of us who weigh in normal ranges, it’s a challenge to keep off holiday pounds. Don’t we want to celebrate the season and still fit into our jeans come January? One psychologist, Kirstin Aschbracher, PhD, University of CA San Francisco says, “Stay calm.” It’s normal to feel overwhelmed during holidays, but minimizing anxiety helps your waistline. Stress hormones like cortisol boost desire for sugary fatty food. Pare down “to do” lists in order to ease holiday pressures. Choose a few meaningful seasonal activities. I’m cooking Thanksgiving dinner. In early December, I’m hosting a Christmas brunch at our house. Of course I’m cooking Christmas dinner. That’s enough festive meals. Our normal dinners don’t include bread and desserts.
Brian Wansink, PhD, advises us to trick ourselves. People eat 9% of their Thanksgiving calories before they dig into the main meal. They fill up on chips, dip, and nuts. Skip the starters. Then, during dinner, use the rule of two. Dish up two of your favourite foods. Maybe it’s sweet potatoes and green bean casserole. The rest of the spread is less enticing.
Caroline Cederquist, MD, suggests pumping up protein. Avoid snacking on refined carbs such as crackers and pretzels. These foods actually stimulate our appetites.