“Playing with Portions”
Greetings all! The holiday season is officially upon us. Whether you are one of those people who looks forward to this all year or someone who can’t wait for normal life to resume, there are certain inevitabilities that few of us can avoid. One in particular is that December is a time of year when perceived control over what foods are available is the lowest. Family feasts, holiday parties, and work functions prevail. Patrons bring in sugary treats to show their gratitude (is there no other way??), and cookies and candy basically manifest out of thin air.
Therefore, it is likely that certain exceptions will be made for many of you who are following a ketogenic program. Of course, in an ideal world, you would maintain a tight dietary regimen and sail right on through. I can assure you, however, that this population is a vast minority. So what it’s going to be about in December is something rather different: how to go off of your plan properly without derailing everything. Believe me, it can be done.
Essentially, as a general rule during the holidays, I propose a shift from focusing mostly on the content of what you are eating to focusing more on the quantity of what you are eating. Here are a few sneaky ideas to help control portions through the holiday party season:
- The “one plate” rule. Load up one time and call it a meal. If you refill on anything, make it vegetables. If there are hors d’oeuvres or dessert, follow the same general rule of one small plate of appetizers or one small piece of dessert. This helps to define the parameters of what you are eating, and may help to slow down the pace at which you eat, knowing that you won’t be going back for seconds.
- Be an opportunist. Make the quieter days count. If you have an opportunity to make healthy choices or plan your meals out, do so! The holidays are not an excuse to throw caution to the wind the entire time. When it’s within your control, take advantage and eat something that will nourish you! This is more commonly known as damage control.
- Spoil your appetite. I know this is not new diet advice for many of you. However, it is a classic for a reason! Eating a small snack that is high in protein an hour before a large meal has been show to be a predictor of decreased overall intake throughout the day. Going to a food-intensive event with a grumbling stomach, or banking calories, is never a great idea for someone on a weight loss plan.
- Wear something snug! I swear this works. Many of you are going down in sizes these days. Perhaps you are on the precipice of going from a size 14 to a size 12. If you are going to a party or a dinner, wear a 12! With less wiggle room, people tend to naturally eat less due to overestimating how full they really are. Be reasonable, of course- I don’t want you to commit a fashion faux-pas, be horribly uncomfortable, or be the guy in the straightjacket. It’s just another way to trick your body into being satisfied with less.
- Don’t deprive yourself. This may sound confusing to you after reading the first four tips. However, what I am referring to is finding a balance between participating in all the seasonal foods and retaining a sense of control. How many times have you gone to a party and said, “I’m not going to have anything I shouldn’t”? Fast forward a couple of cocktails later and you are running the food table like a boss (this is a bad thing). Give yourself permission to have the foods that you really want, but within reason. This is why it is so important to have personal sanctions to keep yourself in check. And when the party is over, it’s over. Back on track the next day!
Maintain over the Holidays
One last thing I want to mention is with regard to expectations. Some of the best advice I can give you is, “Do not expect to lose over the holidays.” This isn’t saying that you cannot lose weight between now and January. However, it seems that trying to do so can be mentally defeating at times, and set the person up to fall short. Most people tend to gain a few pounds during this time, including your former self on certain years. So we really need to think of maintaining over the holiday season like losing. It is a huge victory! I hope you are all able make choices that you feel confident about, and above all, have a beautiful holiday season!
From the Desk of Dr. Cruz
Proudly Serving Central Florida
for over 15 years
In lieu of providing a single receipe, here is a link to 100 medically approved low-carb holiday recipes. These include appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Please take a look and happy holidays to all!