It’s so easy to overdo it during holiday events. Family gatherings often include obscene amounts of food in all their richest forms. It may be that you simply want to sample all the special dishes that you have not had since last year. It may be that it just doesn’t feel like Thanksgiving without the green bean casserole or it doesn’t feel like Christmas without the eggnog. It may be that you have eaten too many sweets and feel like something salty will help you feel better, or you catch yourself alternating between salty and sweet. It may be that you are mindlessly grazing on all the finger foods while catching up with family members. You may even be getting encouragement to eat more from well meaning family members. Any of those things and more can encourage you to eat too much.
For some the danger is simply eating more than intended or indulging in a food item that you have removed from your diet. When you are trying to lose weight, counting calories often becomes extremely important. When you are trying to get healthier, there are often certain foods that are best to avoid. Overindulging during the holidays can delay reaching our goals. For others the danger goes beyond simply over eating and could be considered a binge. While special foods are often part of the enjoyment of the holiday season, feeling uncomfortable from eating to much is never enjoyable.
Approximately one-third of the U.S. adult population and 17 percent of children are considered obese according to CDC statistics.
NPR’s special series “Living Large: Obesity in America” takes a look at what it truly means to be obese in the United States, a country getting larger and unhealthier by the second.
Why are Americans obese? Blame it on the lifestyle. Americans are eating–everywhere. We eat in our cars on the way to kids’ soccer games, on the way to work, in-between meals, and after school. With our lackadaisical view of standard mealtimes, we are not only eating more, but are eating processed foods that are quick and adaptable to our on-the-go lifestyles and it’s rubbing off on other countries. The French are getting fatter, too, according to NPR.
Although France is typically viewed as a counterexample to America’s growing obesity problem, obesity in France is rising slightly. The French pride themselves on their love of food and traditional meal times. The French also know how to properly prepare a meal, something that is vastly disappearing in the age of globalization and urbanization.
According to a small study, people who eat a meal in front of the computer may eat more dessert than those who eat their meal in a more traditional manner.
In the study of 44 men and women, the participants who played video games during lunch ended up eating more cookies than the others 30 minutes after their meal. The researchers attribute this to computer users having a foggier memory of their meal, which lead to them feeling less full.
The researchers found that those in the computer group ate roughly 250 calories worth of cookies 30 minutes after the meal. On the other hand, the other group ate only about half as many calories. (more…)
The time between Christmas and New Year’s is always the hardest time to eat healthy. Why is that? Is it because there’s temptation all around? Sometimes, yes. Is it because we have less time to work out and cook healthy meals? For sure. But what’s the No. 1 reason we all seem to struggle this time of year? Guilt.
We feel bad telling our grandmother that we have to forgo her famous mashed potatoes with lots of salt, butter and cream. Or that we can’t eat our aunt’s prized pecan pie. Or we even feel bad for not baking the family’s sugar cookie recipe that we always make. Change is hard, and in a lot of families, people’s feelings get hurt when you don’t act as though you have in the past. It’s a cliché, but in many ways it’s true: Food is love.
Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, Director of Nutrition at Calorie Count has answered thousands of diet and nutrition questions from Calorie Count members. And that’s not counting the advice she has given countless others during her 30-year career as a professional dietitian. Mary provides accurate and wise diet advice in a no-nonsense way to address the physical and personal barriers to reaching and maintaining ideal weight.
Calorie Count Members find it challenging to maintain their new lifestyle changes during the holidays. Here are a few of our readers’ favorite “Ask Mary Q+As” about coping with holiday food.
Ask Mary: How do I handle eating at a party?
Handle all parties the same way. Don’t go to the party famished and don’t overdo the alcohol because both behaviors open the door to indiscriminate eating. Look over the entire table before joining the serving line. If you are eating a full meal, choose several items in reasonable portions to make up a balanced meal. Look for the vegetables and skip the foods that are breaded and fried or covered in sauce, cream, butter, or cheese. Leave the serving area to eat while seated where you can converse. At a cocktail party, choose only the offerings that you love the best. Take a small portion and think about how great you’ll look and feel at a healthy weight.