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But, what about all that hard work you put in to lose all that weight? Or what about the dreaded pounds Americans are notorious for gaining in November and December (of which, most Americans don’t lose, contrary to popular belief).
What if I told you, you can indulge, and still not completely derail yourself from your health and weight goals? You’d think I had a hidden camera somewhere nearby, right? Well, I kid not, I’m going to give you the secret to gobble down, and not bulk up.
First, know that it’s O.K. to have a splurge day and indulge once in a while. But there’s a reason it’s called a “splurge day”. It’s not a splurge weekend, a splurge week or a splurge month! Don’t fall into the trap of the “I’ll just work it all off in January” mentality. That’s a trap you need to avoid! Another common (and fatal) mistake is to skip meals the day of your splurge. When you come into a meal famished, you’re 10x as likely to make poor choices and over eat! Instead, try eating a light breakfast, and a filling (but light) lunch. That way, when the turkey and dressing is served, you’ll have a level head (and stomach) about you.
Second, get some exercise in earlier in the day. Let’s face it; you are NOT going to work out after you’re stuffed like a butterball turkey. If you know you’re going to have a huge meal, get out and burn some calories earlier in the day to offset it a little, and you’ll also feel better about yourself and your healthy goals.
Drink plenty of water. Dehydration can easily be mistaken for hunger. Not to mention, drinking plenty of water will help you feel full, AND it will help your digestion and maybe curb some of the bloating and heart burn. I know we already established working out after a big meal is a long shot, but if you can convince your family to go for a short walk after dinner, the movement does wonders for moving food through your digestive system and relieving stomach distress!
Eat slowly. If you saw my last article, The International Mystery of a Slimming Diet: Solved!, then you know that this is an old secret of the French for keeping the weight off. Eating slowly allows you to savor your food longer, while also giving your brain time to recognize you’re full. It takes a full 20 minutes for the body to realize it’s had enough. Eating slow enough to listen to your body’s fullness cues will also prevent some of the bloating! Also, chewing your food thoroughly makes your body not have to work so hard to digest the food and maximizes nutrient absorption.
Next, don’t just blindly start piling food on you plate. Walk around the kitchen once and see what all is available, and then make a game plan. Load half your plate up with salad and healthy veggies like green beans and sweet potatoes (just hold the butter and calorie laden salad dressings). If you’re a meat eater, great! Just maybe skip dessert or eat a small slice of pie. If you’re a sweet-a-holic (like me), load your plate with lots of veggies, a nice sized serving of lean turkey breast, and just go with smaller serving of your other favorites, saving room for dessert (just try not to overdo it too much).
But when you over do it (yes, that’s usually the way it goes), just remember: get back on track TOMORROW; not next week, not in January, tomorrow! One day of heavy eating is not going to set you back much (if at all). Just remember that holidays and holiday foods are part of being an American, but so is being overweight, unfortunately. So, if you play your cards right, you don’t have to completely ruin your healthy lifestyle hopes.
Until next time, age well and live long.