Tips on Eating Healthy This Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away. For most of us, the holiday is marked by time spent with family and extreme overeating. Caroline Cederquist, M.D., a bariatric physician specializing in weight management and creator of diet delivery company bistroMD, says that the holidays don’t have to make the numbers on your scale climb.
"Big, abundant, sit-down dinners are likely to make their way into the schedule of even the most harried and hurried among us,” Dr. Cederquist states. “Thanksgiving is a day when many of us feel the need to break all the rules when, in fact, it is possible to enjoy the feast without ruining a week’s worth of healthy eating.”
“Perhaps the most important attitude adjustment is to be sure that you’re not thinking of yourself as a person who is trying to lose weight or avoid junk,” Dr. Cederquist explains. “If you’re trying to eat better and get healthy, then think of yourself as a person who eats well and makes healthy choices.”
Cederquist goes on to say that it helps to be forearmed with a few defensive thoughts to call up in case someone brings that plate of cookies right over to you. Think of what motivates you to be eating better and getting healthy to begin with. “We have our patients write these out on index cards and keep their top motivations with them for quick reference in moments of temptation.”
If someone is particularly insistent about trying to ply you with sweets or goodies, be ready with a polite way to decline. “But don’t say, ‘I’m dieting’”, Dr. Cederquist warns. “That’s only going to invoke sympathy and good-natured encouragement to live a little.”
One avoidance strategy she suggests is to plan ahead. “When you’re faced with that big sit-down meal at Grandma’s, plan to stop before you get so full that you’re uncomfortable. Sure, the food is delicious and evokes all sorts of wonderful nostalgia, but you don’t need to overeat to enjoy the memories. Chew slowly, savor each bite, and really appreciate those special dishes. It’s a much better way to enjoy them than doing the stuff-and-suffer.”
Ask for small servings or serve yourself small portions to start with. “If you’re truly still hungry, go back for more,” Dr. Cederquist reminds. “That way, you can leave room for seconds of the really delectable dishes.”
If you’re the host, one trick to help slow the overeating at your holiday party is to try for buffet serving rather than putting all the food on the dining table.
“We actually recommend this to patients year round so that when they’re at home they fill the plates from the stove and bring them to the table,” Dr. Cederquist says. Repeated studies have shown that if food is within arm’s reach, more will be eaten. If you and your guests have to get up to grab seconds, less food will be consumed overall.