..and so the Holiday Eating Begins, YIKES!

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Aha, with Thanksgiving staring us in the face, Christmas next, The Holiday Eating Frenzy begins. But wait, no need to get crazy here. You don’t have to accept extra pounds which Santa will gladly bring you. Control and a little planning are the keys.

There are some techniques which will help you get a handle on your “love handles” (couldn’t help myself). Thanksgiving, the first major feast of The Holiday Eating Season, doesn’t have to be a four-day-food marathon. Remember, Turkeyday can be one major meal and leave it at that. Most of us accept it will be a rather ultra-large meal – fine. The suggestion is: eat at midday. If you consume a much larger meal than you normally eat, your metabolism (the rate you burn off calories) will speed up to digest the extra amount of calories, so walk within one and half hours after the turkey meal and you will keep your metabolic rate going.

Also, after the meal, put all the food out of sight so it is not constantly calling your name.

Another idea is to call your mom, grandma, or whoever is in charge of the family eating frenzy and ask them not to get too nuts in preparing enough food for the starving people of the world. Sorry to say it does them no good for you to eat it for them. Mom won’t be offended and may actually get a hint.

OK, you have survived and your first Holiday test, and like the Olympics, the announcer says, “let the Christmas parties begin.” Now you’re in trouble. No problem, he says.

It is 7:00 p.m., you enter the cocktail party, nonchalantly saunter over to the hors d’oeuvre table. Remember, it is after work, early evening, you haven’t eaten dinner, hunger begins to set in. Picking up a petite plate you commence gathering a variety of goodies. You travel along the table,
quickly piling the plate as it begins to look like a volcano about to erupt with taste treats. Suddenly, you meet an acquaintance, you say hello and commence eating (because it subdues your nervousness). You are now standing and eating! Dr. Kaye’s Rule #444 ½: “Never stand and eat.” You don’t really enjoy this style of eating – it is just the act. And how comfortable is it, standing beside the table, or close by, holding a plate and a drink and eating. Not all that satisfying. So, instead go sit down! Another suggestion is before grabbing the plate to build your mini-volcano, cruise the table, check it out, know more about the layout of what is there, then get your plate and selectively indulge.

To truly prevent dining on desserts at the hors d’oeuvre table, on your way to the party, stop and get a light fast meal, such as a backed potato. This takes the edge off of a potential binge.

Holiday baking is certainly a pleasure for both the baker and “bakee” (definition of bakee: one who receives the baked goodies). Yet, for some it is difficult to control. (“One for me, one for them, one for me, and so on.”) So, either don’t bake at all (I know, no fun) or eat a reasonable meal before you bake, then package the baked goodies, send them off, get it out of your sight.

Holiday Booze, dangerous for many reasons, moderation throughout, if someone offers to call you a taxi, let them. Don’t be macho.

We all know how suddenly food crops up everywhere in the office during the holidays. Desk to desk, food proliferates. Very difficult to ignore it. Your intentions may be honorable, but major willpower to yourself, “If I can maybe bypass the fudge on Mary Lou’s desk I can at least have a taste of the Christmas cookies in the break room.”

Suggest as a group in your office, everyone agrees the holiday treats will be placed in only one area of the office and not flagrantly everywhere. Therefore, it is your option to go to that specific spot only to indulge. That spot may be in an out-of-sight side office or coffee room. This way, at least, you have a chance at control; otherwise, forget it. Since life is a balance, you can always compensate for this indulgence by committing to a routine of walks during the holidays. This will help minimize the damage.

The holidays should be fun with some indulgence (No, I’m not Scrooge McNutritionist). Yet, you do not have to accept your own purported fate of five extra pounds delivered by Santa. A little plan of attack will help. And, by all means, don’t get your cholesterol checked right after Christmas, you’ll be depressed. So, eat, drink and be wary.

– Freddy Kaye, Ph. D. is a clinical nutritionist in private practice and the faculty nutritionist at Tallahassee Memorial Regional Medical Center teaching resident physicians diet therapy.

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