As we approach the holiday season, it is extremely important to learn how to control your portion sizes. Too much protein and too many starches can be converted into fat and contribute to excess pounds added to our stomachs or our backsides. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, but it makes a difference if you divide your food into the proper portions to make sure you get the most nutrients and not consume excess calories. Here is Lauren Conrad’s Perfectly Portioned Plate. Keep this in mind when selecting your food for your plate during Christmastime and you’ll be ahead of the game for those New Years Resolutions.
Here’s what she writes about the portions:
- ½ Vegetables. First, load up on enough healthy greens or veggies so that they take up half of your plate. Salads, green beans, Brussels sprouts, and squash are a few of my favorites. But keep in mind that too much dressing or butter can turn these healthy sides unhealthy.
- ¼ Protein. Devote one quarter of your plate to a protein like turkey or ham. A 3-ounce serving of turkey is about the size of your fist or a deck of cards.
- ¼ Starches. The remaining fourth of your plate can be made up of starches. This includes stuffing, rolls, and starchy vegetables like yams, mashed potatoes, and corn.
This is definitely a good template to follow during Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas, but it also applies year-round. If you’re really watching your waistline, stick to drinking water and a single glass of wine or a low-calorie cocktail during dinner. Soda should be off limits. Also, fill up your plate with a proper amount of food the first time in order to avoid going back for seconds. If you keep these tips in mind, you’ll still have room for that slice of pumpkin pie!
Do you overeat during the holidays? I do too. There are just so many good foods that are enjoyed during this time of the year. Some of my favourite: Candy Cane ice cream, mashed potatoes with cream cheese, stuffing and short bread cookies. Apart from the food being so delicious, there is just SO MUCH of it!
I read an article from the New York Times called the Power of a Daily Bout of Exercise (You will see the link for it at the bottom of my blog). This article examines a study published by researchers in Bath England that looked at exercise when you’re over-consuming calories. Here are some key points from the article:
– Participants in the study were told to reduce their physical activity and over consume food for one week (Physical activity was reduced from ~10,000 steps per day to ~4,000)
– Half of the participants were told to exercise for only 45 minutes once per day, moderate intensity and the other half was told to remain sedentary for the whole week
– Non-Exercise Group: decline in blood sugar control (bad thing), fat cells developed a malicious streak (having a big impact on metabolism)
– Exercise Group: Not similarly afflicted, blood sugar control remained robust and fat cells did not drastically change
– Quote from the article: “Exercise seemed to completely cancel out many of the changes induced by overfeeding and reduced activity,” said Dylan Thompson, a professor of health sciences at the University of Bath and senior author of the study. And where it did not countermand the impacts, he continued, it “softened” them, leaving the exercise group “better off than the nonexercise group,” despite engaging in equivalently insalubrious behavior.
– Quote: “if you are facing a period of overconsumption and inactivity” — also known as the holidays — “a daily bout of exercise will prevent many of the negative changes, at least in the short term,” Dr. Thompson said. Of course, his study involved young, fit men and a relatively prolonged period of exercise. But the findings likely apply, he said, to other groups, like older adults and women, and perhaps to lesser amounts of training. That’s a possibility worth embracing as the pie servings accumulate.
This holiday season, spend approximately 45 min each day being active and you will greatly reduce your chances of packing on the pounds. Get up, move around, but still enjoy your holiday goodies.