Eat Responsibly!



Patti Bealer Health

You can health at any age!


This month’s challenge: Eat Responsibly!

It is the Holiday Season and we have so many celebrations, whether official, traditional or spontaneous, that give us cause to eat. Not just eat, but to eat out of control. Between the social settings, the family dynamics and the mass media pushing the feeding frenzy, how are we going to have enough “willpower” to combat it all?

Stealing the idea from the alcohol manufacturers which assumes you are going to drink, but want to remind you to drink responsibly, I want to encourage you to eat responsibly. Try to keep it in balance, with celebration, but not over-consumption. We don’t feel good after drinking too much, and we don’t actually feel good after eating too much. Too much of anything is too much.

So how do we do this?

Face the season head on, with a plan!

In my last two articles, I mentioned we need to make the decision to not go on the holiday binge. I also tried to give you some ideas on how to avoid the eating frenzy of the social situations.  It helps to remember those feelings we associate with food from our childhood have meaning because of those times with our friends and family, not with the the food itself. Once we can separate those associations, it is a bit easier to face the food as food, and not as comfort, or love or safety.  However, food will be the focus of most of this month, so let’s look at some simple ideas to help with this time of over-celebration.

Here are some tips to get you through the season:

Honestly, say “no” to the cookie exchange.  Even if you put them in the freezer, they still get eaten (by you!)

Look for healthy alternatives for those enormous meals, or leave out some of the excess.

Do you really need cheese and crackers, or chips and dip before a huge dinner?

Does everyone need chocolate in their stockings?  Probably not.

I don’t want to leave you with just the idea that you should say “no” to all the great holiday festivities. You should absolutely enjoy some great holiday special treats. Some of these treats can be made in a more healthy manner, so you can enjoy them and not feel a food hangover. There are many ways to make your treats healthier, by using better ingredients, looking for a healthier recipe, and just making simple substitutions. I love sweet potatoes, but the sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows just has more sugar than it needs. Just a baked sweet potato with butter makes me feel I have had a wonderful treat.

I have heard of no crust pumpkin pies, which would be an interesting option. One thing I have done is to stop serving rolls in the huge Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner (for some that would be like not having food, but in my family, we never got around to eating them; there was just too much food.); the options are endless.

Fill your plate with all the vegetables you can, and eat very slowly. No one will notice you didn’t meet your “pig out quota”. When everyone else is unbuckling their pants, you can take a great walk outside, or play games with the kids, or watch your football game, all in the comfort of your own pants.

Make the decision to eat responsibly.

Imagine yourself in January, walking into the gym the same weight you are now, or even lighter. No holiday weight gain to take off before you can even start on the pounds that have added up over the years.

Enjoy the season.

Enjoy your friends and family, but remember, it is your friends and family that make you feel good (or bad), not the food. Don’t blame the food. (Maybe that is an idea for a future article.)

P.S. Feel free to share this with your family and friends. Maybe someone you know needs some encouragement!

To your health!