By Dave Schreck:
When I walked into the living room, I realized it had been transformed into an all-you-can-eat buffet. My first thought was: how am I going to survive?
In one corner the appetizer table: Corn fritters with sour cream dip, Gruyere tart, cheese straws, tomato and olive bruschetta, sweet fig crostini, fried ravioli, sugar coated pecans. That alone was enough to put me in the twilight Zone. In the opposite corner were five steaming chafing dishes overflowing with holiday delights: Maple-roasted turkey with smoked bacon and cornbread stuffing, glazed candied carrots, maple-whipped sweet potatoes, creamy fried confetti corn, two cheese squash casseroles and more.
Look over there. Did I dare go to the dessert table, which was laden with decadent desserts: Pumpkin-pecan cheesecake, caramel pecan pie, bananas foster upside-down cake, dark chocolate peppermint brownies, chocolate truffle cheesecake?
I didn’t know which way to turn: Go right out the front door or grab a plate and get in line. Just the thought of working my way through the food stations filled me with anxiety. I’d be stuffed and asleep due to a carbohydrate hangover within 90 minutes.
We have a pretty good idea when emotional and physical stresses are coming. This gives you the opportunity to plan in advance. This is especially true with respect to your diet. If you know you’re going to be under stress, you have to double your efforts to stick to the Zone. This will prevent you from having increased carbohydrate cravings that come with stress, and you’ll be keeping your insulin levels stable so the need to self-medicate is eliminated. What’s the harm in gaining a few pounds over the holidays? Unfortunately, most of us never lose the weight, and the pounds add up year after year.
6 Holiday Food Tips:
- Take a moment to set your intention for the holidays. Wayne Dwyer wrote a book “The Power of Intention.” It’s important to plan what you intend to accomplish, such as, I will focus on the “favorable” carbohydrates and limit the “unfavorable”. “I will maintain my success over the holidays.” Take a moment, find a comfortable position, follow your breath, inhaling and exhaling from your abdomen. Now, focus on your positive outcome, what you want to accomplish over the holidays in regards to your diet. Incorporate all your senses. See, hear and feel yourself being successful and proud that you maintained your weight through the holidays.
- Have your responses ready. Start out with small portions, so that when someone offers you a second helping, you can oblige. Or graciously refuse by saying, “Your cooking is so delicious, I ate too much and don’t have room for anything else at this time.”
- Everyone overeats. Remember how you felt the last time you ate too much (bloated, stuffed, uncomfortable) so next time you’ll have the motivation to eat more moderately. There’s no such thing as failure, only feedback. You’ll have a chance to get back into the Zone at the next meal not next week.
- Set yourself up for success. Bring foods that support your food plan, i.e. Smashed Faux Potatoes (cauliflower) or a crudités platter.
- Continue to follow The Basic Zone Rules.
- Try to eat five times per day: 3 Zone meals and 2 Zone snacks.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables and ease off on the breads, pasta, potatoes, stuffing and other starches. Always have a small amount of low-fat protein at every meal and snack.
- Another helpful (and challenging) tip is to become aware of yourself while you are eating. Slow down and watch what you’re doing. Mindful consumption can be very effective in controlling your Zone lifestyle during the holidays and beyond.
Remember, if you go overboard, don’t worry. You are only one meal away from getting back into the Zone.
All success requires effort. Take some time and apply these suggestions. You’ll avoid that holiday weight gain and be proud of your success during this holiday season. Plus, you won’t have to read those articles related to New Years’ Resolutions in January.