Reminder: CFF Schedule This Week
Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve,
November 22nd - ONLY morning classes
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day,
November 23rd - BOX CLOSED
Friday, Black Friday,
November 24th - ONLY evening classes
by Geoff Rand (orig. posted Nov. 2016-but it's a timely reminder)
Most Americans view Thanksgiving as the start of the holiday season. But when it comes to overindulging, the season has already begun. A Cornell University study actually places Halloween as the start of the string of food-centric holidays, and their research shows that the weight gained between Halloween and Christmas can take over five months to lose. I’d say the season extends beyond Christmas and into New Year’s and even Super Bowl Sunday.
However you define it, no one wants undo all the hard work they’ve done throughout the year because of some poor choices during a handful of holiday meals and parties. Now is the time to develop your holiday strategy to make sure you can still enjoy the company and meals with friends and family without regretting your choices in the days and weeks that follow. Here’s some help.
Don’t starve yourself. A lot of people skip a meal before a large holiday meal thinking the calorie deficit will offset the large food intake to come. But in reality, this backfires. Going into the meal starved tends to make you fill up on chips, cookies, candy, and alcohol while you wait to eat. A better option would be to eat a normal meal before the party and just enjoy the holiday foods in moderation.
Step Away. Those platters of fresh cookies, pies, and other sweets are so inviting and draw you in like the Death Star’s tractor beam. Don’t hover around those trays. It’s easy to lose track of your intake as you talk and drink with friends. A cookie or two becomes 4 or 5 or a lot more. Get a small plate, pick a reasonable number or treats and walk away from the table to socialize.
Keep busy. Offer to help set up or clean up to keep yourself from over-snacking before or after a meal. Go for a walk or play with the kids or animals. Just avoid having that idle time if the allure of going back for seconds or thirds or loading up on desserts is too much for your willpower.
Downsize. Have that pumpkin pie, but cut down on the portion or share with someone.
Penalize. If it works for you, assign an indulgence penalty. 100 burpees for every treat should keep your cravings in check. If you really want a dose of reality, check out this holiday food caloric content chart and corresponding time to walk, jog, swim, or cycle that food off.
Make substitutions. Find healthier versions of your holiday favorites. My family swapped the traditional mashed potatoes for Celery Root Puree (see recipe below) over a decade ago. It’s a great tasting low carb vegetable alternative to starchy mashed potatoes.
Bring your own. Enjoy the family favorites of others that might not be the best for your diet, but bring a healthy side dish of your own to share and to supplement the not-so-healthy components of your meal so you have a healthy alternative and the meal is not a total loss.
Eat Restaurant Style. Instead of sitting down at a table of food, leave the food in the kitchen and take your plate to the food and sit down to eat at an empty dining table. If food dishes are not within reach and you have to get up for seconds, you’ll be less likely to overindulge.
Pass the Bread. And keep passing it right by your plate. Simple carbohydrates like bread might seem innocent enough, but they break down quickly in the body and create a spike in blood sugar, which can leave you feeling hungrier, faster. Take an extra vegetable serving instead.
Seal it up. If you’re hosting a party, buy a bunch of disposable Tupperware. If you’re going to the party, bring your own. If you’re the host, getting guests to take home food keeps you from turning Thanksgiving or Christmas Day into a week of overeating. If you are the guest, bringing your own containers allows you to politely refuse second servings, but still take a small portion home. This avoids upsetting the host and keeps your intake at a reasonable level.
Hydrate. Drinking water is never a bad idea. With the extra alcohol you’re probably consuming and all the sugars and carbs you’re gobbling up, water is going to help in several ways. It offsets the alcohol and helps to keep you feeling full, which cuts down on you munching on sweets. It also aids in digestion.
Stay active. The holidays can become very busy, but don’t neglect yourself. Plan an active family activity for after the holiday meal. Every little bit helps to offset the increased calorie intake. Keep working out. Don’t let a day or two off turn into a week and then a month. Hit the gym hard right after the holiday and get back to your normal routine as soon as possible.
With a little bit of pre-planning, you can enjoy the holidays without sabotaging all the hard work you’ve done the rest of the year.
Celery Root Puree (from Suzanne Somers’ Eat Great, Lose Weight)
(I usually double the recipe)
3 celery root (you can get it at Whole Foods)
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 Tbs. butter
Salt and Pepper
Peel the celery root, being careful to remove all the brown. Cut each root into about 12 pieces, then place them in a steamer over a large pot of boiling water. Cook for about 20 minutes until tender. Transfer to a food processor, add cream and butter and puree all until smooth. (use a mixer if you don't have a food processor) Add additional cream and/or butter if needed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve.