Monday, November 21, 2011

Moderation Monday

Moderation -- balance, within reasonable limits, without excess.

As we approach the one day of year that seems to always focus a majority of time and effort on food and eating, I’d like you to exercise your moderation muscles starting today. The Thanksgiving feast offers foods that bring with them great emotional attachment, those comfort foods that you grew up with as a child, the hot gravy and mashed potatoes, and of course the pies! It’s all good, and yummy, and NOT outside your eating boundaries. When I lost my 50 pounds, I didn’t give up any food that I really enjoyed. That’s right, not anything. HOWEVER… I ate within my caloric daily intake, and in moderation.

Did you know that many Americans eat between 3,000-5,000 calories on a holiday? That’s two-to-three times your daily healthy limit!!! No wonder we groan as we push away from the table and literally our stomachs ache after “the big meal”.

Here’s what I recommend doing -- you know that on Thanksgiving Day there will be a very large temptation to overeat, and by that I mean eating too large a portion, well past your hunger limit. Everything tastes so good, you are busy talking and laughing around the table and don't even realize how much you're eating, etc. This week, until that meal, eat a bit lighter, and watch your calories a little more closely. First off, you will be easing up on the overall weekly calorie intake. Remember, one pound is 3,500 calories, and if you eat 500 calories more than you burn every day, you will gain one pound in a week. Do the math. Secondly, your tummy may just get used to eating a bit less and you won’t want as much food on Thanksgiving.

Additionally, plan out what you want to eat on Thanksgiving. Use a smaller plate. Fill one half of your plate with veggies, one fourth with your carb (mashed potatoes, stuffing, etc.), and one fourth with your protein (turkey, ham, etc.). Be VERY sparing on the gravy and butter. I’m not saying don’t eat any, but don’t slather it on that hot roll, and don’t drown the meat and potatoes with it. One trick is to keep your salad dressing or gravy on the side, and dip your empty fork into it before taking a bite of food. You’ll still get the taste of the dressing, but without all the extra calories. Take smaller portions. Give yourself permission to go back and have seconds if you are still truly hungry, but chances are you won’t be, since you will have given your stomach ample time to tell your brain you’re full (it takes 20 minutes for that to happen). Using the half/quarter/quarter measurements above, if you do go back for seconds (after waiting for 15 minutes to ensure you are still hungry), keep half the plate for different veggies, and a quarter for a different carb, and a quarter for a different protein. By eating carefully, with mindfulness and moderation, you can still eat a little of everything without stuffing yourself sick.

Start today – think, plan, and know how you will handle your holiday meal.


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