By Dr. Jeff Brown
From now until New Year’s, you will be tempted and titillated to taste the bountiful treats of pastries, drinks, and lavish meals put before you at parties, family gatherings, and other social events. So how do you come up with a plan to indulge during the holidays but not regret your mischievous oral delights?
- Prepare for the party. The best way to prepare to indulge yourself at a party, but not overdo it, is to never go to a party hungry or thirsty. Be sure to drink plenty of water before you attend an event. This will help you handle whatever alcohol you may consume, and staying well hydrated will boost your metabolism by up to 3% to handle the extra calories. In addition, have a small meal that is well balanced with green leafy veggies, good fats, good protein, and complex carbs several hours before the event. This will allow you to indulge at the party but not succumb to gluttony.
- Practice the new exercise called “Push-Aways.” This means to enjoy the food while at the party but “push-away” from the table before overeating. A lot of us eat, not because we’re hungry, but because someone puts another dish before us. Just “push-away” slowly from the table “...
- Stay true to portion control. Decide before you attend an event that you’re going to eat only one-quarter, one-half, or two-thirds of what you’re served””no matter what! That is, of course, unless you’re served a whole gallon of ice cream. For example, decide to yourself before the event that you’re going to enjoy the heck out of a single slice of pie””but no more!
- Savor the food and drinks. Eat every piece of delectable goodness and drink each enticing beverage slowly and purposefully. Take the time to feel the richness of the food and drink in your mouth before swallowing. By practicing this method, you will allow your brain a chance to notice that you are full and avoid overeating. Sometimes we eat so fast that our brain can’t keep up and let us know when the body is replenished.
- Stay the same weight. Trying to lose weight around the holidays is hard and sometimes impossible; so weigh yourself today, and make this your goal: “I may not lose any weight during this time, but I will not gain any weight over the holidays.” There is only one way not to gain any weight over the holidays if you’re indulging in new food adventures ““ you must adjust your calorie intake. For example, if you know you’re going to go to a party in the evening and you plan to have a few drinks, you should adjust your calorie intake during the day by not drinking those two sodas and having water instead. Another example is if you know you’re going to a dinner party later in the evening, don’t overdo it at lunch. Finally, if you know you may consume an extra 500 calories at a holiday party, then add this to your workout regimen so you burn an extra 500 calories before the event. It’s just that simple. Think about calories in and calories out.
The bottom line here is to enjoy yourself during the holidays by “tasting” a lot of food that you normally would not eat, but don’t become your own worst Cookie Monster, or Cake Monster, or Pie Monster, or whatever, which you will surely regret in the new year.
Peace, love, and long living from your doctor in the family,
Dr. Jeff Brown
Jeffrey B. Brown, M.D., is a Johns Hopkins University/Sinai Hospital Internal Medicine trained physician. Throughout his medical school years, residency training and practice of internal medicine, he has received numerous awards and accolades for his compassion and pursuit of academic excellence. Dr. Brown is certified by the National Board of Internal Medicine. For more information, visit his website.