Saturday, December 15, 2007


The Holiday season can create havoc on with your health regime. The work parties, family gatherings and tons of food and drink make it difficult to maintain a healthy diet.

Many people chose to overindulge because of the holiday season. Here’s an interesting statistic. Did you know that most North Americans will gain up to 10 pounds of weight during the holidays?

The average person has about 30 billion fat cells. If you are overweight or obese you can have over 100 million fat cells!. When you eat all that great Christmas baking, chocolates and kielbasa, those fat cells can expand--up to 1,000 times their original size! Unfortunately a fat cell can only get so big and once it reaches it’s limit it multiplies. Plus, once you have a fat cell – you have it for life! You can NEVER burn it off. So remember this when you grab for that next short-bread cookie.

The point of holiday gatherings is to celebrate. Mingle with friends and loved ones instead pigging out. Unless you have a high metabolism like myself, you are going to regret going overboard.

Here are some Tips for the Holidays

Don’t starve yourself. Eat a good breakfast. Maintain a healthy eating schedule which includes protein during the day.

Aim for 5 or 6 evenly spaced meals a day. This isn’t just for the holidays. Not only is this the best way to burn fat and maintain muscle, but the lower end of the intestine requires emptying every six hours. Unfortunately, most people retain its contents twenty-four hours, which could result is ulcers and cancer.

Eat a good portion of vegetables. They have very few calories and will help to fill you up.

Eat a sensible salad (excluding the creamy dressing) before attending a holiday function.

Grab some fruit rather than the calorie dense dainty.

Stay away from the processed foods and white bread & pasta. Choose whole grain products.

Limit the booze. Alcohol intake can quickly add hundreds of calories. And guys, it significantly increases estrogen and reduces your testosterone levels.

Drink water. Along with your regular hydration requirements, drink a glass just before the big meal.

Wait a good 20 minutes before going for a second helping. It takes your brain about 20 minutes to realize that the stomach is full.

Remember – all things in moderation. If your Aunt keeps hounding you to grab seconds – politely decline. Offer to take a goody bag home instead.

If you’re hosting the party - present food in various locations to encourage activities and mingling as well as eating.

Stick with your exercise program. Don’t fall into a rut.

Not sure what to eat? Here are some fat fighting foods:

Eggs. Low in calories, they not only do they curb cravings but the whites are high in protein. The yoke has important vitamins, minerals and fat

Low-fat dairy A University of Tennessee study showed that dieters on a high-dairy meal plan shed more abdominal fat than their nondairy-eating peers. Milk also helps to build muscle and lowers the odds of a stroke.

High-fiber foods Beans, lentils, veggies and whole-grain foods take longer to digest and keep you satisfied longer.

Fish. Ensure the fish are wild and not “farm-raised”

Chicken. Always a good bet – stay away from fried…..

If you avoid consuming any fat, you will short-circuit your body's natural system for transporting vitamins through the body and regulating cholesterol levels. A healthy diet should take approximately 20-35% of its total calories from fat. However, keep in mind that fat has almost twice the number of calories as carbohydrates or protein (9 grams compared to 4 grams). Just watch your calorie intake.


The Canada Food Guide suggests that you eat a variety of foods from all 4 of the basic food groups – Grain, Fruits/Vegetables, Milk Products, Meat & Alternatives. Not sure how much is in a serving?
The following are equivalent to one serving:

A deck of cards = 3 oz. chicken/beef/turkey/fish
Your thumb = 1 oz. cheese
1 ice cream scoop = 1/2 cup cooked rice/pasta/oatmeal/beans/fish or poultry
A tight fist = 1 oz. dry cereal
A computer mouse = 1 baked potato
A yoyo = 1/2 bagel
1 fruit or 1/2 cup of raw vegetables.

Eating more than one serving in a meal is expected as a combination of foods is best. Remember the 5 or 6 regular spaced meals previously mentioned? Make it a part of your healthy lifestyle.

This is a special time of the year. Enjoy it with your friends and family.

Wishing you all the best this Holiday Season!