Tis the season!
The activities that abound during the Christmas and New Year holidays are an appropriate antidote to the colder weather and shorter days. It is a time to gather with friends and family, share old traditions and perhaps start a few new ones.
One can count on an abundance of food and drink, much of it well outside of what anyone would describe as healthy. The temptation will be there and most of us will surrender. Why do so many of the “bad” foods taste so darn good? Bring on the sugar, salt and tasty fats seems to be the order of the day through this period.
As a dedicated foodie, I love to cook but I love eating even more. My passion for food had the predictable result. My weight steadily increased year after year. When my six foot one frame was carrying 245 pounds, change had to happen. With the help of doctors, dieticians and copious research to expand my knowledge combined with increased moderate exercise, I managed to shed 50 pounds. That was a steady loss averaging about a pound per month.
It wasn’t easy and the bounty of the festive season scares the heck out of me. It would be so easy to indulge in all that good food and drink. If I did, the pounds would soon reappear. With some excellent advice from the professionals, I have developed a strategy which allows me to yield to temptation but not get carried away. It has worked reasonably well over the past three years. I’m pleased to share it with you.
First is quantity. When it tastes so good, we want to eat more. Be moderate and deliberately eat slowly. Savour the flavour a little longer and consume less.
Avoid the cheese platter. Most cheeses are fairly well loaded with fat and salt. Nibble a piece or two along with your glass of wine but take it real easy on the quantity. The fruit tray is a great alternative to cheeses. There are often vegetable trays as well and they are a great alternative. Just remember that tasty dip is liable to be a calorie bomb. Have a little dip; why not, but just take a tiny bit.
The frozen tidbits bought in a package and popped into the oven are wonderfully convenient for your host. They are usually loaded with fats and salt, and are best to be avoided.
Pastries and cakes are a sugar hit. That said, who would be enough of a masochist to deny themselves a good butter tart or other special treat? Just keep in mind that that wonderful flaky pastry is that way because of all the fats in it.
Chocolate must be a health food. The added sugar sure does increase the calories. Denial is impossible but moderation is possible.
Then there are the drinks. Pop will load up the sugar calories. Alcohol, perhaps with the exception of wine, is just a bunch of empty calories. It is a good time of year to just avoid it. Ask your hosts for a glass of water, they may be surprised but happy to serve you some.
The big dinner is a killer. All you can do is try to take less and eat more slowly. It is not an occasion to get too carried away with calories.
The season is a time to relax with family and friends. It should be a happy time and getting too distracted with dietary worries can be a bit of a damper unless one is careful. Enjoy, but be moderate and you won’t be making the lose weight resolution at New Years.