How to Avoid Holiday Overeating
Holidays and special occasions can now be enjoyable rather than fattening. No longer do you need to fear the holiday season and packing on 5 to 10 extra pounds. This also means you won't be writing New Year's resolutions to lose weight! You can sail through the holidays—as well as vacations and special occasions such as weddings—with confidence, knowing that you are moving steadily toward your ideal size.
The Tradition of Feasting
If you have favorite feast foods, such as cranberry sauce or rum balls, remember that you can enjoy them at other times of the year as well. This might relieve some of the subtle internal pressure to fill up at the celebration because you won't see that special food again for another year.
Cooking a whole turkey isn't a requirement for Thanksgiving; it's just a tradition. You could also cook other foods such as a roast or a ham. Don't feel compelled to make all the trimmings. Be selective and prepare only the foods you and your family enjoy the most.
Feasting on special occasions has been around about as long as mankind. Why? Because we like to honor life's rites of passage and religious celebrations, and what better way than to have a party that includes special foods. Feasting days through the ages have included religious holidays, life event celebrations such as marriages and births, season changes, and sporting events, just like today.
In days of old, common folk ate pretty boring and simple foods from day to day. Their meager diet included some meat, in-season vegetables and fruits, and starches such as bread or rice. Their diet might also include a soupy cereal called gruel … which even sounds boring.
But feast days were different. The English and American colonists would celebrate by making and eating all sorts of delicacies like plum pudding, mince meat pies, and yes, even fruitcake. (Imagine a bleak, cold winter without any fresh produce. Now take some fruit that was dried or preserved since the summer, add nuts, and bake them into a cake. Fruitcake would have seemed like a delicacy to you, too.) These feast days might have been the only times when the common folk had access to fancy “treat” foods.
The common folk could afford to overindulge at a feast because they seldom, if ever, had enough food, let alone enough to constantly overeat.
Now jump to the present. You don't face food scarcity from day to day. Eating enough calories to fuel your body is as easy as reaching into the pantry or the refrigerator or stopping by a fast-food joint. Finding special foods is easy, too. What you can't find at a local store, you can order over the Internet and have delivered directly to your home.
Yet, you still want to enjoy special feasts. The good news is that if you update your perspective about feasts, you can enjoy special foods without overeating them. But to get through feasts with your waistline slim, it takes some thought and planning.
More on: Planning Healthy Meals for Families
Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Healthy Weight Loss © 2005 by Lucy Beale and Sandy G. Couvillon. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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