Just a Bite

Normally I would agree that a bite of anything isn’t going to make or break your diet. In fact I have often advised that people enjoy a bite of desired foods since depriving yourself can often make you want it more.  Although I still believe the “just a bite” strategy does work.  I’m beginning to re-think whether it’s effective during this holiday time when there is not just one food or one meal, but weeks on end of “special” eating.

holiday dinner plate_2013I just finished the first of what will likely be many holiday meals and celebrations.  It was an office luncheon and everyone outdid themselves by sharing family favorites. The food was delicious and it was fun to socialize with co-workers.   As  I approached the large buffet table,  I reviewed  the  key strategies that I’ve taught on “How to Manage Holiday Eating:”

  • Be selective – choose foods you really want and pass on food you can eat anytime
  • Have just a bite or small portions of food you really want
  • Limit calorie dense foods such as gravy, butter and sauces, egg nog
  • Leave the bread alone (unless you prefer that over potatoes and stuffing)
  • Use a small plate
  • Don’t skip an earlier meal or go hungry
  • Exercise in anticipation of eating more calories than usual (bank calories)
  • Take a healthy dish so you’ll I’ll have at least 1 low calorie food to enjoy and fill up on.

I did pretty well using these strategies.  I had only a spoonful of everything. The big Aha moment came when I looked down at my plate and it was loaded with food and calories!  It was clear that more effort was needed if I was going to manage the entire holiday season and stay on target with my weight.

So now what do I do? Again, drawing on the techniques I’ve taught for many years, here’s my plan for the rest of the season:

  • Commit to my weekly exercise schedule (4x/ week) and add 10-15 min. each day
  • Eat simple, nutritious  meals most of the week. Eat more veggies, salads, fruit  and lean protein foods to give fullness without a lot of calories
  • Track my food intake for a reality check on my calories. Make adjustments when necessary to stay on course
  • Weigh, today and weekly. Set a goal to hold my weight where it is.  I won’t expect to lose weight
  • Selectively choose holiday parties and not feel compelled to go to them all
  • Modify recipes and meal plans to include lower calorie, festive and seasonal food
  • Focus on non-food holiday events (I know there must be some!)
  • Stick to a SMALL bite of important foods, not a spoonful.

A little extra planning and effort now will pay off in January.  This is the mantra I will repeat often during this holiday season.  I’m confident it will work!

Calories by the Bite:

  • Bacon-wrapped shrimp: 50 calories
  • Egg roll: 60 calories
  • Pate: 80 calories
  • Artichoke dip: 80 calories
  • Creamy dips on a chip: 45 calories
  • Brownie: 100 calories
  • Cheese: 57 calories
  • Pecan Pie: 63 calories