Dont Overeat on the Holidays

Halloween candy is the unofficial start of holiday eating binges. It's hard to refuse those few morsels that "trick or treating" children leave behind. No one wants to throw food out, so most people bring the candy to work and spread it around. It's that time of year again - when all of us could learn a little restraint and still be able to enjoy ourselves at the same time. Please observe, or pass on the following information, to your loved ones, friends, and students.

Last year, I lost 10 pounds during the holidays, and 21 pounds since then, by using the following guidelines. After you eat, your stomach should be half full, or less, with food. For every two parts of food consumed, you should drink one part water.

Leave your stomach at least one quarter empty for movement of air. When eating at a restaurant or party, eat half a portion, maximum, and wait five or ten minutes. Restaurant portions are commonly two or three meals on a single or double plate. This is way too much to consume at a single sitting, and you may find out that once you pause and sip your drink, you are already full.

In the Providence, RI area, there are some restaurants where the single portions could feed a family of four. No wonder a man of 200 lbs. is now considered thin. Establish control over your appetite. Most of us feel guilty if we don't finish a plate.

This is usually conditioning from your childhood. Bury your guilty past and have the rest "wrapped to go." Here are a few more guidelines that will help you during the holiday season and throughout the New Year. Always eat something for breakfast and never "skip it." When you skip breakfast, you will over consume, later in the day.

Eat slowly and thoroughly chew your food. If you love carbonated drinks - drink carbonated water without sugars or sugar substitutes. Make sure your last meal, or last "snack" of the day, is small and nutritionally dense.

Examples: Cereal with fruit, cottage cheese with fruit, vegetable salad with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, rice with vegetables, and light popcorn, without the extra butter and salt. For those who eat meat or fish: turkey, chicken, or salmon salad on top of fresh greens. In the last part of your day, skip desserts, sugary cereals, bread, and second portions. Second portions of carbohydrates can contribute to high triglyceride levels.

If you absolutely must have sugar: Eat fruit salad, fruit with rice, or yogurt. If you must have coffee or alcohol, beware that these should be consumed in extreme moderation. Both substances will dehydrate your body, and you will have to drink extra water to make up for it. Wine is much better than hard alcohol, but one or two glasses a day is the limit.

Coffee consumption should be held to the same guidelines (one or two a day). Remember that green tea is a good substitute for coffee. Nutritious food is not an excuse for over indulgence. Even when you eat all the right things, the volume consumed should be in moderation. It will take a lot of exercise to make up for overeating anything.

Make your meal a meditation, by focusing on the meal you eat at the kitchen table. Pause every few minutes, think about the amount you have eaten, be thankful for your life, and breathe. Do not engage in unconscious eating while watching television or driving the car. Copyright 2005 - Paul Jerard / Aura Publications.

Paul Jerard is the director of Yoga teacher training at Aura in RI. He's a master instructor of martial arts and Yoga. He teaches Yoga, martial arts, and fitness. He wrote: Is Running a Yoga Business Right for You? For Yoga students wanting to be a Yoga teacher.

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