The holidays can be a stressful time for those concerned about weight gain. Many people feel guilty when they overindulge. However, how do you say no to your co-worker's sugar cookies or a second helping of Grandma's special stuffing?
Take a deep breath. You can make it through the holidays, indulgences and all, with a little planning and self-care.
"Holidays are a time for celebrations, not guilt," shared Laura Slaathaug, clinical dietitian at RiverView Health. "We tend to celebrate by having an abundance of food on the table, which can lead to overeating. If this does happen, the most important thing is to have compassion toward yourself. "
Moderation is key with our favorite holiday foods. As long you aren't repeatedly over-consuming treats, a few indulgences won't wreck your long-term health.
Better Days Ahead
The best thing to do after overindulging is to get back on track as soon as you can. To help regain normal eating, Slaathaug recommends slowing down as you eat and making sure you taste each bite of food. She stresses the importance of tuning in to your body to recognize feelings of hunger and fullness.
"It's OK to leave food on your plate or save some for leftovers," she stated.
Slaathaug also recommends physical activity to help curb some of the holiday weight gain or alleviate the feeling of heaviness and bloating that accompanies a large meal or overindulgence.
"Keep in mind that having a healthy mindset is one of the most important parts of trying to eat healthy. A varied diet comes from a variety of food, both high calorie and low calorie, and not from eating only a couple of food groups. Be sure to supplement your favorites with a variety of fruit and vegetable side dishes that can add color and nutritional value to your plate."
Ways a Registered Dietitian Can Help
Other than weight issues (overweight or underweight), Slaathaug can help you with a variety of topics, including
- You have diabetes, cardiovascular problems, or high blood pressure and need help safely changing your eating plan without compromising taste or nutrition. November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. Besides seeing patients one-on-one, Slaathaug also runs RiverView’s Monthly Type 2 Diabetes Support Group. Currently, virtual meetings take place on the third Wednesday of every month. Sessions are free and open to anyone with diabetes or their family members.
- You are thinking of having or have had gastric bypass surgery and now must develop an eating plan for your new needs.
- You have digestive problems and need assistance creating a diet that won’t aggravate your condition.
- You’re pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding and need to determine the healthiest diet for you and your baby.
- You or your child has issues with food and eating healthfully. Slaathaug assists patients dealing with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.
- You’re caring for an aging parent or family member and need help determining how to care for them and their changing taste buds.
- You want to eat smarter. Slaathaug can help you sort through misinformation, learn how to read labels at the supermarket, discover that healthy cooking is inexpensive, eat out without ruining your eating plan, and give you tips on resisting workplace temptations.
- You want to improve your performance in sports. Slaathaug can help you set goals to achieve results — whether you’re running a marathon, skiing, or jogging with your dog.
If you have concerns about nutrition, call 281.9595 to schedule an appointment with Slaathaug.
Pictured above: Laura Slaathaug, RD LD, (pictured on the left) helps patients feel their best through better nutrition.