Jessica Miller, a registered dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, says you can avoid this psychological turmoil by adopting a more sensible approach to holiday eating and exercise. “You will not gain weight from one meal by itself. Consistency is the key; if you generally follow a healthy diet, it is acceptable to treat yourself to a few seasonal indulgences around the holidays.”
Martha McKittrick, a registered dietitian at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, says, “Don’t deny yourself the occasional treat. What people need to realize is that everybody can eat something of everything — it’s just a question of how much.”
The following is the holiday feast survival guide — a road map of sorts to keep you and your diet from straying too far this year.
- Never go to a party hungry. Snack on fruit, non-fat yogurt or vegetables before you leave for the party. You will be less tempted to overindulge while you’re there.
- Take control of your environment whenever possible. Never engage in conversation while sitting next to a platter of your favorite cookies. Grab a bottle or glass of water as soon as you arrive at a holiday gathering and take a few minutes to survey your food choices.
- Bring a low-fat dish to the party. Share with other guests.
- Fill your plate with vegetables and lean protein foods — then add small “tastes” of high-fat dishes.
- Eat slowly and savor every bite. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to your brain that you are full.
- Decide in advance how you will handle gifts of cookies and candy. Don’t leave them out in the open so that you will be tempted to binge. Keep one or two and give the rest away.
- Limit alcohol consumption. Not only does alcohol contain many calories, but it can also stimulate your appetite and reduce your willpower. Try a wine spritzer, or, better yet, avoid alcohol completely and drink seltzer or mineral water with a twist of lime, or a non-alcoholic tomato juice cocktail.
- Don’t allow holiday activity to slow down your exercise program. Exercise can help burn off extra calories and make you feel good about yourself.
- Moderation is the key to weight maintenance. A forkful of cheesecake will do less damage than a whole piece. Remember, an occasional indulgence will not destroy your weight-loss attempts, and if you don’t love something don’t eat it.
For more information, patients may call (866) NYP-NEWS.
NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation’s largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,409 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including 12,797 deliveries and 195,294 visits to its emergency departments. NewYork-Presbyterian’s 6,144 affiliated physicians and 19,376 staff provide state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation’s leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. For more information, visit www.nyp.org.