While at the airport, on my way to San Francisco, I was browsing the magazine racks in search of reading material for my flight. My attention was drawn to this month’s Glamour Magazine cover, with not only our extremely fit First Lady but there is an article titled Eat! Drink! Enjoy! (and still lose weight), which focuses on the issues of eating around the holidays.

Who else better to dish out food, weight, and eating tips for the holidays other than the beautiful and fit Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo’s Top Chef. Padma spends her days eating and sampling delicious food from chefs whose main focus is how their food tastes, not what it will do to your waistline. Gourmet cuisines, comfort foods, side dishes galore, fried, sautéed, marinated… whatever and however it is prepared it may not always be the healthiest. Padma offers her top 10 pieces of advice for the weight you might put on around the holidays and I must say, a lot of them are points I try to keep with me year round.

Here are my favorites:

  • Be realistic. Padma talks about how she has to give herself time to lose the weight she puts on during the tapings of Top Chef and also around the holidays. She says it takes her 6 weeks to put the weight on (during the show’s taping) and about two months to take it off. Don’t rush yourself, be patient, and be realistic in knowing that yes, the weight comes on quickly but it’s going to take a lot longer for it to come off.
  • Remember: Food should always be pleasurable. I love this one. Food is what makes us gather around the table to enjoy each other’s company, especially around the holidays. Enjoy the food. Padma makes a point to say, “being too stringent leads to binges” which is beyond true. When you deprive yourself of things you love, once you get your hands on it you’ll want even more. Padma discusses how even when she’s trying to lose weight she still allows herself to enjoy small indulgences. Don’t deprive yourself of something that’s your favorite; maintain self-control and do everything in moderation. My favorite thing she says “There is no guilt in pleasure”… if you enjoy it, have it. Just don’t eat it everyday and know if you do indulge in something not so healthy, eat better the rest of the week. Your taste buds will thank you.
  • Eat two small snacks a day. This is yet another great tip. When I was working in an office I started to bring snacks to munch on throughout the day. I’d have one between breakfast and lunch and another between lunch and dinner. People always talk about having mini meals or snacks throughout the day, and some people think it’s crazy. For me, it worked wonders. I was never starving or sluggish come time for the next meal because I was constantly fueling my body to have energy to last all day. I crave crunchy snacks so I typically have a yogurt mixed with granola (which makes the yogurt more filling, too!), some peanuts, or often times I’ll eat half of my lunch during lunchtime and save the other half for later in the afternoon to get me through the rest of the day.
  • Cook at home most days. This is one thing I will always swear by. For some reason some people think it’s cheaper to eat out and really expensive to cook from home. I can’t even begin to discuss how much money I’ve saved just by cooking at home. Not only is it a great financial move, but it’s great for your diet too. It’s a fantastic practice to get used to preparing your own meals. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy dining out, but I also love cooking at home because I can see exactly what’s going into my food, I can prepare it to my liking, all that moving around could be considered a workout, and if you make enough, you’ll have leftovers!
  • Use spices! By seasoning your food well it, of course, makes it more delicious and flavorful. So instead of eating excess portions of bland food in an attempt to feel satisfied, you’re eating smaller portions of tasty food, resulting in fewer calories. Padma’s favorites: cayenne, ginger, sumac, and thyme. I would have to agree with her… ginger is amazing! Experiment with spices until you discover some of your favorites.

As a food blogger I really related to this article. There are times food is put in front of me, I get invited to tastings, or I see a recipe that I know our readers will just love therefore I just have to make it so I can share it with them, but it might not be the healthiest option. Little things like learning to pick a few items you’re going to eat instead of sampling everything, portion control, and eating a small snack before events are also great tips to keep in mind this time of year and, really, throughout the year.

-Chels

What do you do to keep healthy during the holidays? Healthworks Members be sure to check out Maintain! the Holiday Weight Maintenance Challenge! Visit the Maintain! page for details on how you can keep weight off during the holidays and win 1 Year of Personal Training!

 

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