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Avoid Those Extra Holiday Pounds This Year By Eating Mindfully

November 14, 2017

Contact: Beth Jansa, PR Manager



Avoid Those Extra Holiday Pounds This Year By Eating Mindfully 

By: Leslie Tranter, MS, RD, LD, CDE / Registered Dietitian, DeKalb Medical Certified Diabetes Educator

(Decatur) It’s November again – the smell of warm turkey with gravy, cornbread dressing and pumpkin pie fills your home. You have gobs of candy leftover from Halloween that tempt you as you sit down to watch your favorite television series. December holidays and New Year’s Eve are right around the corner which will bring dinner parties, work gatherings and celebrations with friends, all of which have one thing in common: food – and too much of it. You are already thinking about that January morning when you hop on the scale feeling guilty for overindulging that has led weight gain. 

Before this scenario unfolds, know that you can do something to prevent it. It’s called mindful eating and has helped many people regain control over their eating habits. Mindful eating revolves around the “why” and “how” we eat. By practicing mindful eating techniques, you will learn to enjoy each bite, recognize feelings of fullness, become a food critic and ultimately avoid those extra holiday pounds. 

First, each time you think about sitting down to your next meal or snack, ask yourself, “Why am I eating?” If it’s because of boredom, stress, anxiety, routine or simply because that particular food is available, put it down. If it’s because your stomach is growling or it’s been more than four or five hours since your last meal, go ahead and eat. Uncovering whether the hunger you feel is emotional or physical is one of the first steps to eating mind-fully. We eat for so many reasons other than physical hunger which leads the body into storing those extra calories instead of burning them for energy. 

Next, before you take your first bite, take note of your senses. How does your meal look? How does it smell? How does it feel on your fork or in your hand? Turn off the television, computer, smart phone or other distraction. Then, take one bite at a time, chewing slowly. Pay attention to how long it takes to eat the entire meal. If it’s 10 minutes or less, your body hasn’t yet had enough time to send a message to your brain telling it that you’re full. This process takes about 20 minutes. Try this technique with your next meal. You will most likely begin to recognize the feeling of fullness. The meal will also taste better and be more satisfying. 

Become a food critic. No, not the type that bashes restaurants in online reviews, but rather a self-food critic. For example, let’s say you are standing in front of a buffet and you have two choices of pota-toes – mashed potatoes with gravy or sweet potato soufflé with caramelized pecans. Ask yourself, “Which would give me the most satisfaction?” There’s no right or wrong answer. It’s all about per-sonal preference. 

Eat a nutritious snack before you head to that holiday party. I know so many people who limit themselves all day, only to overindulge in a feast that evening. Having a small handful of cashews might be just the thing to avoid overdoing it. 

Celebrate what’s significant. Too many times we look forward to attending a holiday event for the food and forget about the true meaning of the holiday and the family and friends that surround us. 

To learn more about the Nutrition and Diabetes Education Center at DeKalb Medical, call 404-501-1790 or visit http://www.dekalbmedical.org/home/our-services/diabetes. 

Sweet Dumpling Squash with Fontina & Cranberries 

What you'll need to serve two:

Sweet dumpling squash, 1 medium

Fontina Cheese, grated, 3/4 cup

Cranberries, dried, 1/3 cup

Nutmeg, ground, 1/2 T

Walnuts, whole, about 12

Butter, 1 tsp 

To Create:

Cut squash in half. Scoop out seeds with a fork. Place squash face down on baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes on 400 degrees. When squash is done, remove and scoop out the middle into a medium sized mixing bowl. Make sure you wear oven mitts when you do this as the squash will be very hot! To the same mixing bowl, add Fontina cheese, cranberries, butter, and nutmeg. Mix together. Scoop out mixture evenly back into the two halves of squash. Place walnuts on top. Bake for about 6 minutes (still on 400 degrees) or until cheese melts. When done, sprinkle with nutmeg and serve. 

Visit www.dietitiankitchen.com for more great recipes from Leslie!

Dr. Arpan Patel of DeKalb Medical Physicians Group Scott Boulevard Internal Medicine shares more great tips to avoid over eating during the holidays. Watch this quick video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH1RWz_MX_o.