Six Tips for Staying Trim During the Holidays

Christmas tree NYC 2015

Thanksgiving just passed and the holiday season is now quickly upon us. With this time of year comes an array of parties and events to attend, and any excuse  to cook, or simply (let’s be honest!) eat lots of tasty holiday treats. Cookies, cakes and pies galore. Oh my!!! During this festive month we are tempted with so many decadent spreads of food. According to a study, by the National Institutes of Health, the average weight person typically gains one to two pounds over the holiday season. And people that are overweight tend to gain five pounds during this time. The real issue is that most people don’t lose the weight gained, thus the pounds obtained over the winter holidays accumulate year by year. But with the right knowledge, you don’t have to join the group of “weight-gainers.” You can enjoy the holidays and maintain your weight and healthy habits. Whether traveling or enjoying the holidays at home, maintenance is KEY. Don’t look to lose weight over the holidays (but if you do, that’s awesome!). Here are six tips to keep you on track:

1. Follow your meal routine. Eat every three to five hours. Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals so you can indulge later typically backfires. When you skip a meal your blood sugar level may drop. This can lead to intense hunger. You may end up eating more than you usual and your desire to make healthy decisions will go out the window. Tip: eat a healthy snack or meal before you go out so you don’t overindulge at a party. Try to combine some protein with a complex carbohydrate and you may feel full longer. Think a small handful of nuts or a KIND bar and a fresh fruit. Or a peanut butter and banana sandwich on whole grain bread.

2. Balance your plate. For the party meal, think MyPlate guidelines: ½ of the plate should be non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts or salad, ¼ of the plate can be from protein sources like grilled salmon, sautéed tofu, beans or chicken breast and ¼ starch consisting of pasta, rice or sweet potatoes. Add in a small serving of dessert if you so desire or very small portions of several desserts. Think volume for the vegetables and portion control of the more decadent sides and desserts.

3. Don’t drink your calories. We all love those holiday punches, ciders, cocktails and hot comforting drinks but know what is in your glass before indulging. Always start the party off with water or a glass of seltzer. If you want to get or remain svelte, stick with the two aforementioned beverages! If you must imbibe, one to two glasses of wine or 2 oz. of vodka, gin or rum with seltzer or a splash of juice should be your limit. Just an FYI: Egg Nog is one of the richest holiday drinks, containing 350 calories, 19 grams of fat and 22 grams of sugar per 1 cup (8 ounce) serving! CalorieKing (www.calorieking.com) is a great website (and FREE app) for nutrition information on drinks and food.

4. Fill your kitchen with healthy whole foods so you eat well at home. Purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, beans, hummus, tofu, fish, chicken, lean meat, nuts and nut butters and whole grains, such as quinoa, whole wheat pasta and couscous, cereals and popcorn.

5. Maintain your exercise routine. Exercise helps prevent weight gain and relieves holiday stress. Walking at a brisk pace, just 20 minutes daily, is quite beneficial.

6. Aim to maintain weight, not lose it. Enjoy the holiday season and the time you spend with friends and family. You will get more enjoyment out of laughing with those you are closest to than indulging in unhealthy holiday foods. Don’t let the buffet table become your focus!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the 2015 The Outstanding Dietitian Of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy plant-based eating and optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs. She is also the author of the e-book The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed book The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment and diabetes for teens and adults. Contact Lisa here or visit here for more info.

20 Ways to Lower Your Stress Level NOW

dog-coffee-cup

With the crazy political climate over the past week, Americans have been dealing with a huge cloud of stress that has not been felt in quite awhile. Many of us feel shaken to the bone. Quite often when people feel stressed, they run for something that they think will help them feel better quickly. Many times what comes to mind is the easy fix of high-calorie foods, like French fries and donuts, and lots of alcohol. But de-stressing like that is not healthy and only short-lived. The stress is here. It is real. But learning how to cope, while taking care of yourself, will help ease the stress and have you feeling better. Read below for twenty ways to reduce the stress. If you have healthy de-stressors to add that aren’t included here, please let us know. We’d love to here from you!

1. Sip a cup of hot herbal tea. Camomhile is very soothing.

2. Indulge yourself in a warm bubble bath.

3. Watch a comedy on Netflix.

4. Take a walk in a beautiful part of town.

5. Spend ten minutes each morning, right after you wakeup, meditating. I highly recommend the free app Insight Timer.

6. Enjoy a yoga class and find your zen.

7. Enjoy a delicious plant-based meal. The nutrient-quality of the dish will help you relax.

8. Practice deep breathing. Take in 1 deep breath. Hold it for one minute and release slowly through your nose. Do this two more times. Feel the calm.

9. Call a friend who makes you laugh.

10. Do a good deed for someone. Something as simple as holding the door or delivering a hot meal to a sick friend. Helping someone will make you feel better.

11. Buy a lavender plant and enjoy it’s calming fragrance. Better yet, buy some lavender oil and take a whiff whenever you start to feel tense.

12. Go for a walk with your dog.

13. Volunteer at your local animal shelter.

14. Take a walk with a friend.

15. Listen to your favorite tunes.

16. Schedule a lunch or dinner date with one of your friends.

17. Take a hike in a beautiful park.

18. Read a book and escape with stories that bring you pleasure.

19. Donate money, or your time, to those in need.

20. Find something that will make you laugh. Laughter is the best medicine!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012). She is a nationally-recognized and award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management, travel nutrition, and diabetes. Lisa received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition and her M.A. in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here.

 

 

Stay Trim: Avoid Weight Gain While Traveling Abroad

 

rome-restaurantWhile traveling abroad, you may feel at times that things are out of your control. Flights may be delayed, reservations may have been cancelled, or luggage may be lost in transit. Unfortunately, this is the reality of traveling abroad. However, weight gain while traveling does not have to be a reality. You can take total control of your exercise and food choices while traveling so you return home without unwanted pounds. As you should know, being on vacation is not the time to try to lose weight, unless you’re at a health spa. Maintaining your weight while traveling is much more sensible and doable. Enjoying the wonderful food is part of the traveling experience. It may seem like it might be difficult to maintain your weight while on vacation, but mindful thinking and a little planning can put you on the right track. Follow the tips below to plan your healthy trip abroad.

Mendocino food pic

  1. Plan on when you are going to eat meals. It may be tempting to keep buying snacks throughout the day, but if you stick to planned meal times and one or two snacks, you will not engage in mindless eating which can lead to weight gain.
  2. Split large portions. Ask your server how big the plates are, and don’t be afraid to share an entree with someone else or ask for half of it in a to-go box.
  3. Engage in some kind of physical activity on most days. Instead of taking the bus to a nearby location, walk there instead. Look for nearby walking tours or hiking trails to discover. By walking, you get to experience new places close-up while burning calories.
  4. Look for accommodations with a kitchen–think AirBNB. Traveling abroad doesn’t mean that every meal has to be consumed in a restaurant. Part of the fun in having a kitchen abroad is visiting farmer’s markets and buying local ingredients to create your meals. In preparing your own meals, you can choose the foods you love or would like to try, and give yourself the appropriate portions to avoid overeating. If don’t have access to a kitchen on your trip, see if you can order a mini fridge with your room to store some healthy snacks. You can also keep many breakfast foods, such as yogurt and cheese, in a small fridge.
  5. Pack healthy snacks. You can buy some nutritious snacks before you leave for your destination, or at local markets while you walk the city streets. Having healthy snacks on hand keeps you energized between meals as well as helps you avoid buying unhealthy snacks on impulse from street vendors.
  6. Drink sufficient water. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger and we grab a snack when really we need to hydrate. In addition, drinking water can help you feel full between meals to help you avoid snacking. Bring a durable reusable water bottle to keep with you at hand during your daily travels.
  7. Avoid buffets, if possible, or learn how to control yourself around them. If the breakfast buffet is too tempting, store some cereal or whole wheat bread, peanut butter and fruit in your room to help you start your morning right. If you ever find yourself at a buffet, think about appropriate portion sizes before you eat and stick to eating the amount you plan to eat.

veg omelette Amsterdam

Remember to enjoy yourself! Being smart about eating and exercise during vacation can bring the best result: enjoying new experiences abroad while not having to worry about your weight. Bon voyage!

Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN is the author of the ebook The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto (Nirvana Press 2012). She is a nationally-recognized and award-winning Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a specialty in teen and adult weight management and diabetes. Lisa received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition and her M.A. in Clinical Nutrition from New York University. She consults with clients in Huntington, New York and on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. To find out more about Lisa or to book an appointment, please visit here. Special thanks to Anita Renwick, nutrition intern, for her wonderful contributions to this blogpost.