Be Festive Without Feasting

Hurricane Sandy was an ordeal to say the least.  I prepared with flashlights, candles, blankets, etc.  What I wasn’t prepared for was those few extra pounds I gained once the ordeal was over.  Who knew you could be without power and still gain weight. Natural disasters have become “events” and 24/7, panic-inducing coverage, can cause us to reach for comfort in all the wrong places—like the cookie aisle.

I’ll admit I gained a few pounds after Sandy, so I’m a little nervous about all the upcoming snackfests!  I asked Kimberlee Caputo, fitness expert and owner of Get In Shape For Women, to give some tips on making it through holidays, cocktail parties, and stormy weather without packing on the pounds.

Caputo says that staying on track during the holidays and family get-togethers requires more of a mental shift than a check list of do’s and dont’s. “The hardest muscle to train is the mind.  It’s a perspective.  I tell my clients to think about the cause for celebration.  You’re really there to make a connection with people.  Focus on that connection, instead of food.”

She also suggest that you redefine your agenda.  Often we want to eat the same way that we did years ago (when our metabolism was higher) simply because it’s tradition or we have memories of eating every course.  Caputo encourages women to reconsider those old eating habits.  Instead of having a bit of everything, enjoy the fruits and vegetables and protein as a light lunch instead of nibbling throughout the day or going back for seconds and thirds.

She believes that one of the keys to success is practicing awareness.  That is, taking a bite, tasting it and enjoying it before prepping the second bite.  Of course, I couldn’t let our conversation end without getting some idea of how a foodie like me can take control of being surrounded by food all day.  Some of these tips might be just what you need.

  • For a holiday feast, Caputo says try having a salad or soup first, then protein, and eat carbs in small amounts almost like a garnish. Drink water before during and after your meal.
  • For those unexpected cravings, she says it’s best not to have junk food in the house.  A trip to the store can discourage that sudden desire to munch.
  • Make healthy alternatives that are good for you.  Caputo suggests substituting Greek yogurt as a base for dip recipes that call for cream.  She also says that Humus and Avocado are excellent alternatives to having a healthy dip.
  • Instead of potato chips try brushing tortillas with olive oil, then baking them.  If it’s really just the crunch that you want, pretzels are a great option as well as lentil chips and edamame.

Kimberlee Caputo is a fitness expert and the owner of Get In Shape For Women in Basking Ridge, NJ.

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