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Potluck Fear ... Watch Those Calories

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Dr. Ernest Levister, Jr.
Dear Dr. Levister: After being overweight for most of my life, I gave my body a makeover. I lost 73 pounds. I’m exercising and eating healthy. There’s one problem - the holidays give me fits of stress and anxiety. My biggest fear is coping with ‘potluck mania’? Debbie…

Dear Debbie: The holidays are a time of good food and good cheer. It’s a time when we celebrate with family, friends and co-workers. It’s also time for the traditional holiday potluck. What may seem like an innocent, inexpensive way to throw an office party, share recipes, toast the New Year and indulge a sweet tooth can actually be a minefield of fat rich casseroles, fried foods, store bought cookies, breads and unhealthy sugary beverages and treats.

Not to worry! Using some old fashioned common sense and planning ahead can keep the holiday weight Grinch at bay.

Here are some tips:

Make a list of activities that allow you to relax and enjoy the season. Distract yourself from excessive eating or the feeling of fullness after a big meal, e.g. go for a walk, take a bath, read, treat yourself to a day spa, volunteer at a shelter or take a long scenic drive.

Don’t count calories or weigh yourself during the holidays. Give yourself some ‘play’ room to enjoy the moment – after all you’ve worked hard to get and stay healthy.

If you start to panic because you feel you’ve eaten too much, its okay – just back off the next day.

Eat small meals every three or four hours during the day. Carry cereal bars or other low calorie snacks to power you through holiday shopping.

Make time to exercise at least 4 times a week.

Drink plenty of liquids. Limit alcohol and coffee intake.

Get plenty of sleep.

Those lush sounding creations from Starbucks and the neighborhood sports bar can pack upwards of 400 to 500 calories per drink. If you indulge – do it in moderation.

At the office holiday party or other seasonal outings don’t fill your plate with fried foods and sugary treats, nibble on vegetables and fruits. Fill up on bite sized foods, low fat dips, natural juices and whole wheat pasta.

Set boundaries for yourself. Don’t be afraid to say no thanks. With the economy in a nose dive,
many people have lost their homes and or jobs and are feeling depressed, angry and anxious.

Steer clear of negative discussions and binge shopping.

Avoid family or co-worker feuds and confrontations. Keep conversations light and positive. When the food and alcohol flows so do the tempers and hurt feelings.

Wear festive colors, a holiday pin or sweater.

Select flattering outfits that flaunt your new figure.

Don’tbecome a victim of weight watcher anxiety. Go ahead strut your stuff. You deserve it!

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