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Getting Your Diet Back on Track After Thanksgiving

We’re in the post-Thanksgiving phase, but holiday parties, office gatherings, and Christmas day meals loom large in the coming weeks. Let’s look at how we can battle back to normal eating habits.

Last week we warned you about the nearly 4,500 calories the average American consumes on Thanksgiving. It’s a scary number, and we provided information about what that kind of calorie intake can do to your body, but we also provided tips and tricks to get through the day. Well, we’re nearly one week out from the big day…how did you do?

Here’s your guide to assessing the damage, managing the guilt, and getting back on track.

Clear the Slate

Get rid of your guilt. We all overindulged over the Thanksgiving weekend. It’s all part of spending time with family and enjoying the company of those we love—we shouldn’t be bogged down with anxiety over our food choices. Remember: It’s not what we eat on holidays that ultimately make us gain body fat—it’s our eating habits the rest of the year.

Make a Plan

Go into the rest of this year’s holiday season with a plan to reduce your tendency to overeat at parties, family gatherings, or at the church cookie swap. Try to stick to smaller, healthier meals during the days leading up to, and following, holiday celebrations. Making time for exercise daily is also crucial.

Take Time for Breakfast

Jane Bogordos, an exercise physiologist, suggests beginning your day with a healthy breakfast to ensure your body gets the calories it needs to prevent overeating later on. Your meal should be full of lean protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs like fiber. She suggests unflavored oatmeal with added fruit and spices (not prepackaged!) to help you feel full longer.

Help Your Hydration

Lisa Garcia, a registered dietitian, explains that thirst can sometimes be confused with hunger—and it can be difficult to tell the difference during the hectic holiday rush. Always keep water on hand. It will keep you hydrated and help keep food temptations at bay. Garcia also highly recommends clementines because they are healthy and full of moisture.

Skipping Not Allowed

You may think skipping a lunch or dinner here and there will help keep you in check these next few weeks, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Skipping meals forces your body to shift into conservation mode and burn fewer calories. Skipping can also make you more likely to hang on to any fat you’ve gained. Steady meals will maximize your metabolism, help regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, and balance hunger hormones.

Ban the “Bloat”

Increasing your potassium intake can also help you lose the “bloat” and feel lighter by sweeping excess sodium out of your body. Other benefits? Potassium helps nerves and muscles function properly, regulates blood pressure, and regulates your body’s PH level. The easy way to add potassium to your lunches and dinner is to incorporate lima beans, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, salmon, or mushrooms.

Get Up and Get Out

Try to walk at least five minutes per day. It may not sound like much, but it’s all about setting the groundwork to make exercise a habit. After the first week or two, bump those five-minute walks up by another five minutes until you’re walking 30 minutes or more a day

Or, you could challenge yourself with one activity that’ll really make your body work. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, but maybe you’ve always wanted to sweat it out in a Bikram yoga class or maybe you’ve only ever been able to run one mile at a time. Push for two miles! Take the class! Get out there and have fun!

If you have questions about any healthcare issue, contact the primary care providers at Coastal Carolina Health Care by calling (252) 633-4111 or visiting www.cchchealthcare.com.

(Sources: Health.com; Bangor Daily News; The Northwest Indiana Times; Women’s Health Magazine; Reader’s Digest; and TheBayNet.com.)