Holiday feast or fast
The holidays aren’t coming; they’re pretty much here for the next month. Between work celebrations, visiting family and friends, and those irresistible goodies around, every day until New Year’s Day is a potential holiday. I could tell you to resist all of the good tasting stuff, but that is why they are called “irresistible” goodies.
How can you survive the holidays without blowing your intentions or resolutions? First, figure that you are going to blow it, at least occasionally. Food can be a comfort and this is a stressful time. The cortisol produced by the body during stress makes fat. Studies have shown that a person will consume 600-800 additional calories in order to avoid a 240 calorie treat. Eat the treat, forgive yourself (guilt increases your need for more caloric comfort) and FORGET IT.
If the treat was high sugar, look at where you can cut some sugar (beverages are usually good) for your next meal or snack. If that will leave you hungry, increase your meat portion. It will fill you faster. Hunger this time of year can be used to justify eating or drinking ANYTHING.
Another thing to consider is bumping up your exercise, if you are doing any, or starting any physical activity, especially on pretty days or your days off. Think of it as “financing” your future food indiscretions. Just because we all know that the chances are good that you will gain weight during the holidays, doesn’t mean that you can’t do something to offset the damage. Exercise also decreases the cortisol, which decreases the amount of fat which your body will make.
You can make small changes in the foods that you traditionally make this time of year. Adding some cooked cauliflower to your potatoes to be mashed together will not change the flavor, but will cut some calories. Also, instead of cream in most recipes, try substituting equal amounts of evaporated (NOT SWEETENED CONDENSED) milk. Using liquid egg substitute works in most baking recipes that call for whole eggs. The taste will be the same, but again more calories will be cut. Be prepared. If you cut sugar with a sugar substitute not made for baking, the taste and look will most likely NOT be the same. Sugar makes food brown. No sugar – think anemic looking baked goods. Yeast breads need the sugar to feed the yeast; otherwise any bread will look like flat bread. If you make the changes mentioned above, you should have saved enough calories to use REAL SUGAR.
Remember that you want to enjoy this holiday season with the least amount stress. Planning ahead for what you are going to eat will help.
Hard as it is to sometimes remember: the holidays are about people. After all, what would your holiday look like with all of your favorite foods, but none of your favorite people?