HO HO NO! Tips to eating smart this holiday season

By Jennifer Whirley-Diaz, MD

Owner and Medical Director, Medical Obesity Management of Indiana

The Holidays are a wonderful but emotional time of the year. So, many of us turn to food for solace. We’re happy, so we eat chips and salsa. We’re sad so we hit the ice cream. Angry, lonely, bored, stressed…you name the emotion and many of us treat that emotion with food. We know it’s not the answer, but we do it anyway.

I ask my patients all the time; “Why do we give food so much power?,” and “How do we get into this unhealthy relationship with food?” Those are important things to think about because we are in charge of our own choices. And, believe it or not, Halloween is not about the candy, Thanksgiving is not about the mashed potatoes, and Christmas is not about the fruit cakes and cookies!

These are things on which to focus during the upcoming festivities:

  1. Remember, it’s all about the people: Spend extra time with friends and family and less at the time at the table. Meet and reacquaint yourself with people, not food.
  2. Always have a plan: I advise my patients to be Boy Scouts; “Be Prepared!” If possible, know in advance what is on the menu and decide what you will and will not eat. If you are going to indulge in an item, set a limit. One piece of cake is not a healthy choice, but 5 pieces can be catastrophic to a weight loss program.
  3. Hydrate: Now, I’m referring to water, but other beverages may be available. If it’s served in a punch bowl, I would advise passing on it. Get plenty of water before and during any get together and avoid sugary drinks. If you’re going to drink alcohol set a limit and do not exceed it no matter what your “friends” suggest. The calories in alcohol add on the pounds just like cake. And, of course, never drink and drive!
  4. Enjoy the Holidays and Enjoy good health!