I had an exciting conversation with Kellee Terrell, an editor for Real Health, The Black Wellness Magazine, during which we brainstormed tips on how to keep the weight off during the holidays.
Through her research, Kellee said that the average American adds 5 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's. We both knew we didn't want to pack on any pounds and we were confident that our family and friends felt the same way.
So how do we make the holidays the best of times with wonderful family occasions? How do we keep from waking up the following day to a heavily weighted bathroom scale feeling as if it is the worst of times?
Here are some of the ideas I use:
1. Tweak your recipes: Take mashed potatoes, for example. Replace a third of the potatoes with cauliflower. Add a quarter teaspoon of garlic powder. This recipe cuts out a third of the calories and gives the potatoes a real jump-start on your taste buds.
What about chocolate brownies? Instead of using oil, I use yogurt or applesauce. I can still serve a rich chocolate dessert but with fewer calories. An extra plus: the brownie tastes richer and stays moist longer.
What I've found is that almost every dish can be modified to reduce calories and fats without sacrificing flavor and the flavor is frequently enhanced.
2. Incorporate at least two healthy side dishes: None of your guests want to leave the table feeling underfed and unsatisfied. To permit your guests to indulge without adding calories, I suggest adding tasty, healthy sides such as a cucumber and tomato salad or a big pan of green beans steamed with onions and chicken broth. That way, we can eat heartily without packing on calories that turn into a higher scale reading next week.
3. Focus on your loved ones: Food is not the only way to find pleasure. Make a point to tend to other people and nourish your spirit. That way, you won't need to stuff yourself with food.
If you are just starting a nutrition and fitness regimen, I want to reassure you that "now" never seems like a good time. This is especially true during the holidays.
But the naked truth is that "now" is all we have. Both yesterday and tomorrow are forever out of reach. Now is what we have to work with. That's why the holidays aren't the worst of times to begin. They are the best of times.
Note: The complete article, "Keep the Weight Off During the Holidays" appeared in the November 15 online version of Real Health, The Black Wellness Magazine.