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Ask Chad #5

August 5th, 2013     Ask Chad

Hi Chad,

With the holiday season coming have you got any pointers to help me not put on a bunch of weight! My family love to cook and none of it healthy and I find it hard to resist but this time my new girlfriend is coming with me and she’s hot, I don’t want to turn into a bloat pig! HELP!

Luca D’Mayo, Tampa, Fl. 

Thanks for the question Luca!

As you are well aware, the holiday season is notorious for over-indulging practically from Halloween all the way through New Year’s. From candy corn and caramel apples to stuffing and gravy; from egg nog to Christmas cookies, it’s a dangerous time of year for your waistline!

You are smart to look for strategies to try to keep this from happening!

My first recommendation pertains to eating out…either at holiday parties or at family dinners.

Try to eat a light but filling meal BEFORE going out to the event. If you aren’t starving going into the meal, it’s less likely you’ll feel like eating too much at the meal. I prefer to fill up on snacks the contain protein and/or fiber to feel satiated. Think along the lines of a couple hard-boiled eggs and an apple or some celery sticks with almond butter!

An alternative strategy that works well for some people (including myself) is to actually fast all day leading up to the “epic meal”. I know this is in direct contradiction to the first piece of advice, but many of us are going to eat whatever we want at a holiday event, regardless of what we have beforehand.

So for people like me, it works out better to simply save my calories for the big meal. But it’s imperative to know your own mentality before choosing between those two options.

At the meal itself, most people mistakenly take a “little of everything” thinking they’ll just have a taste of each thing and because the portion is so tiny of the individual food, they’ll eat fewer calories.

However, studies have shown it is better to pick fewer items. You are less likely to over do it when doing so. Think about the mound of food on your plate when you try a little of everything. Can you imagine mounding a plate that full of just turkey and green bean and cranberry sauce? Not really.

And of course, don’t even think about going back for seconds (or thirds!) This is especially true if you’re the type of person who will eat dessert no matter what. Again, avoid the extra dinner plate and save some calories for pumpkin pie!

Finally, as you should be doing with most meals year round anyway, opt for protein and vegetable dishes like turkey and green beans and away from things like stuffing, gravy and desserts! No one ever became a “bloat pig” by eating too much turkey and vegetables!

It would also be a great idea to go for walk after the meal. Get moving a little bit instead of lying on the coach and falling asleep. It may not avoid the inevitable bloat if you do overindulge, but you’ll feel a lot better than if you lay around on a gut bomb of holiday goodies!

Thanks again for the question Luca, that’s it for this segment of “Ask Chad”.