Thursday, December 20, 2012

Don't Gain 10 Pounds Over the Holidays! Tips From the Fat and the Skinny.

Santa in the store mall at The Plaza, NYC
In the waiting area of Todd English's Food Hall, The Plaza
Holiday shopping, meal planning, get-togethers, the incredible fun and stress of dining out, staying in, invites and mega events with visiting family and friends between Christmas Eve and New Years. You are a whirlwind and your family is thrilled and spinning like dynamos with the spirit of celebration. How did you do it? The adrenalin pumped, your friends and family rolled sweaters to their elbows and pitched in with sweat and tears.  Now comes January 3rd and all is a glossy virtual memory on your digital uploads and scrolled down Facbook feeds and Twittered Instagram photos.

What will remain in the realm of the concrete is neglect of a certain area of the bathroom or your bedroom. No, not the dust balls and micro bits of human flesh and hair. It's the scale. How long will it take for you to acknowledge that you've eaten your way out of those skinny size 0 jeans and are feeling pinched and breathless in your size 2s? How many days will you avoid, "The Horror, The Horror" of hopping onto the abyss and seeing those dreaded numbers indicating a gain of 15 pounds?
My good friend.
 The sooner you face the fats, the better. The faster you will resolve to shut your mouth and get back to the basics of plain, healthy eating and throwing out everything in your refrigerator with the whiff of sugar and savory. The quicker you will marshal your brood back to accepting veggies, fish and lean meats, praying that you obliterate the rich sumptuous holiday fare from their consciousness.
After the holidays, for many, it's the left picture, not the right when putting on jeans. Gulp....ahhhhhhhhh!
Want to avoid the hell of having to diet off those rat clinging 10-20 pounds after the holidays have long passed? Let's get real! You can gain that much, especially if you are the type, like me, to pillage the delectable goodies you've avoided all year in a holiday binge fest then continue the pig-out bliss to the Epiphany, January 6th or beyond.  It's so much easier to lose only a few pounds than 10-20. If you forestall the inevitable weight gain of the season, you'll be happier, healthier and stronger in the long run..

Here are some tips to fantasize about doing. You want to avoid the scale terrors don't you? If you can accomplish at least one in its entirety, the remembrance of your carefulness will inspire you to get on the scale more quickly and will keep the guilt at a standoff.  Think five pounds less fat misery in January. Use these tips at your own discretion especially if you are overweight or obese.

Tip # 1
Right before the holidays take 2 bites less at each meal and up your intake of water and fresh lemon juice to make yourself feel full. Lose a few pounds before the marathon of eating begins. You can also make the lemon drink featured in the Master Cleanse.

Tip# 2
For more immediate results, go on a Master Cleanse for 5 days before Christmas and your mind, body and stomach will be attuned to feeling full. Your eye-mind-hand-mouth excesses won't be as bad and your susceptibility to sampling and going for seconds of the tastiest, most caloric courses will be muted. By the time your body and mind catch up with the haze of overeating that other partiers have entered days before, you will be near New Years. You will have already saved yourself by half, the weight you would have gained.
Tempting rolls. Avoid, avoid, avoid. They will stimulate your appetite and increase your blood sugar.
 Tip #3
At Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners and New Years Eve and New Years Day dinners, drink hot drinks at least two hours before you eat, if possible. Again, if you use the Master Cleanse lemon (hot, like a toddy without the alcohol) drink, you will be way ahead of your weight gain curve. Tea, coffee, lattes with non fat milk are filling. It's better to hydrate yourself with liquids, and avoid the stress of taxing your organs by overeating. Liquids (stay away from diet sodas and soda, period.) keep your digestive system flowing smoothly and happily. Psychologically, you will feel strong, confident and pleased at your determination. These are good emotions in the midst of friends' and relatives' overeating depression despite their attempt to "enjoy the holidays."

Tip #4
When people see what you are doing, the saboteurs will crawl out of the woodwork like insects on a mission. Remind yourself, your less filled plate or drinking liquids will make them feel guilty as they stuff their faces. You must arm your consciousness and need to please them by either making jokes or being direct according to your own MO. If you need to set this course a few days ahead and make up practice lines in response, then do so. Their guilt trip won't help you take off the 15 pounds you've gained because you listened to them. If they carp at you, ask them, "Are you concerned about gaining weight?" The jacket of blubber they are encouraging you to wear, put right back on them. Your emotional, mental and physical health is more important than all their manipulative taunts, demeaning jokes and guilt-fear machinations. If they have a problem with YOUR ATTEMPTS AT BEING HEALTHY,  that is their problem. Just one more cookie won't hurt them, especially if they are trying to stuff your face with it. Give it right back to them...the cookie and second helpings and whatever else more they want you to eat or drink. Their criticisms of your attempt at strength and health is their problem. Ask them if they have a problem with your need to be healthy, thin and not excessive at this critical time when everyone is prone to gaining weight.
Fish with mussels, light and savory. The only safe dish to finish, perhaps.

Quail; don't finish all of it.
Tip #5
Take two spoonfuls/forkfuls of the most fattening and highest caloric foods (if you must, to taste, but that's it). Take five forkfuls/spoonfuls or more of salad (If you have to have dressing, try fresh squeezed lemon and cold pressed olive oil or a great balsamic vinegar with no oil.) and vegetables (unless they are full of cream, butter and cheese). If you have no choice and the salad is predressed, ask your hostess if she has other dressing or ask for a bit of greens without dressing, then ask for the balsamic. If she is offended, that's her problem.
Arugula salad with parmigiano sans the dressing. Eat all of it.
Tip #6
Avoid white starches and their derivatives, i.e. potatoes, bread, rolls, rice, pasta. Instead, fill up on the most colorful food items that took the least amount of preparation because they were grown from soil or hydroponically and no one has thought to be extra creative to process them with bread crumbs and other caloric preparations. If the cooks have deep fried the broccoli and cauliflower, then pick off the bread crumbs or push aside the creamy, cheesy glop designed to mask the true flavors of the vegetable. The goo and fried batter and crumbs are the pounds you will gain. Ask yourself this question: do I want to gain 5 pounds on vegetable dishes designed to taste scrumptious? Or do I want to gain 5 pounds on the main meal and dessert course? Make a decision, but don't do both. Stick to colors/vegetables that have not been excessively treated, cooked and processed.
Beef cheek ravioli. (Heavy fare; just eat one.)
 Tip #7
If you are going to drink alcohol, limit yourself to a glass of red or white wine, at the most two glasses and follow the above tips about food to the letter. If you are going to have mixed drinks, limit yourself to one. If you are having straight up or on ice straight vodka, gin, bourbon, etc.,  then try to avoid the wine or have one glass of wine and one straight up drink, one of each at the most. If you can, limit yourself to two drinks and follow the other tips about food like a fascist.

Red velvet cake. Take a sliver and eat half of it. That's it.

Milleflour cake: thin pastry layers and creme filling. Is a thin slice possible? Then just eat 1/2 and that's it.

What more can be said. If you eat it, you'll wear it, unless you can have just one, the most two bites, to taste.
 Tip #8
If you must eat dessert and must try all the desserts, take one tiny slice/piece of the larger dessert items and then eat one bite of each, yes, that's ONE BITE. If there are those cakes/desserts (fruitcake) that are unappealing and avoidable, then pick one luscious item you do love (i.e. red velvet cake) and eat half of a small portion (thin sliver) and that's it. Don't try more than one half slice of a dessert. If you finish the entire piece of that delicious dutch apple pie, then a half hour later, a piece of the black forest cake and then a half hour later, a slice of the sweet potato pie, you will have gained your six pounds in one dinner.  Even if you are careful between Christmas and New Years, your cells will have expanded and they will be raging to be filled the next day and the next. It will be very difficult to resist the temptation not to eat the leftovers your hostess gave you, especially any dessert leftovers, WHICH YOU SHOULD HAVE REFUSED! If you are the hostess and you aren't sending your guests home with leftovers or they refuse them, THEN TAKE THEM TO A FOOD PANTRY!
Incredible pastries: from tarts, chocolate truffle pastries to Boston creams and strawberry shortcake whipped creamed desserts. Don't they look beautiful? Pretend they taste awful and avoid eating any. Be proud of yourself. These are the little foxes that creep up on you and snare you in their teeth.
Tip #9
Watch out for the seemingly small items that require tremendous will power to avoid whether appetizer course or dessert course, i.e.  chips and dips, the crab cakes or oysters Rockefeller, the chocolate covered Christmas butter cookies filled with jelly or chocolate or another equivalent of such that you like. You know about chips and dips. But the cookies!!! Cookies are pound packers; rarely can you eat only one. I have easily scarfed 1/2 pound of a two pound box simply by eating 5 cookies.  In fact avoid the easily navigable, pop in your mouth appetizers (cheese, any processed tray of items from Cosco, and desserts i.e. chocolates, petit fours, fudge, etc.). If you can't have just one of anything that is 50- 80 calories or more, (potato chip, Jacques Torres chocolate) then don't have it at all. These items havoc your pleasure stimulators and endorphin terrorize you until the tray is half empty. And then you realize you're the paramount nibbler.
Chocolate chip cookies. Can you have just one?
Tip # 10
Weigh yourself immediately the next morning. Of course, you will kid yourself that you should wait a few days until you have allowed some of the food to be eliminated. And don't kid yourself with the rationalization that you can put it off because you have the salad and chicken in the fridge at the ready. NO. Do not fall for any excuse, justification or rationale building. Weigh yourself. The scale is your friend. It will help you decide to follow the same protocol to prepare for the next session of weight wars, New Years Eve and New Years Day. If the scale is kicked under the bathroom vanity or is left to gather hair balls in the corner, then you are doomed to gain even more weight than you imagine. And you will feel you can eat with impunity the week following up to New Years celebrations.

Tip #11  (About those leftovers...)

 Me after drooling over the luscious treats in the downstairs mall just outside Food Hall at The Plaza, NYC (photo credit, Emily)
 Good Luck, God Bless and Happy Holidays.

The resolutions for maintaining your weight or losing weight should begin well before the holidays, not after New Years. In fact, two weeks before, during and after, step up weighing yourself every day, regardless of what the pundits say. Reality is a vital motivator to keep your appetite in check. Delusion and avoidance is a stimulator of appetite.  Of course, if you don't mind gaining a lot of weight and plan to take the next 6 months losing it then go into unconsciousness and oblivion and eat anything that isn't nailed down. For me, a chronic overeater and obeser (see previous posts on this blog) those 6 months reverted to 6 years and then decades of yo-yoing. And when I think back to the beginnings, it was always the holidays that set me adrift on the raft of self-destruction. At sea with my fellow orcas, I was doomed to float on the waves of my own misery looking at rolls of blubber in the mirror (when I had the courage to glance at my reflection).

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