Real ways to save your waist line this holiday season

Published 5:44 pm Thursday, December 19, 2013

Last week we learned safe cookery practices when preparing holiday cuisine.
This week I’d like to show you how to control how much of those culinary treats you eat. Here are a few tips to help keep a trim waistline through the Christmas season.
1. Prepare yourself mentally, to enjoy food. So many folks beat themselves up emotionally when trying to enjoying holiday goodies. Remember, you can do no more harm nutritionally, eating bad just one day, than you can get nutritional benefit, eating well just one day. Plan to indulge when celebrating the season. That way, you’ll get not only the physical satisfaction, but the psychological enjoyment as well. Just plan to eat clean and then get to your workouts afterwards.
2. Eat breakfast. This is one of the biggest mistakes folks make in anticipation of a big holiday meal. If you skip breakfast, your blood sugar levels won’t be stable, which can lead to snacking, and overeating.
3. Sip a bowl of broth soup, before your big meal. Being a liquid, soup will fill and slightly stretch your stomach, which will signal your brain to slow your appetite. Make a choice between either chicken, vegetable, beef broth or gazpacho, as these soups have fewer calories. Stay away from cream-based soups.
4. Take a brisk walk before eating Christmas lunch or dinner.
When you exercise, blood flow pulls away from the gastrointestinal tract to help fuel your working muscles. When that happens, digestion slows. This will in turn decrease appetite.
5. Sniff peppermint. I know this one sounds odd, but a study conducted at Wheeling University in West Virginia, found those who inhaled essential oil of peppermint every two hours consumed 23 percent fewer calories.
6. Eat what you like. Don’t limit your culinary options, just limit your portions.
7. Fill up on low-calorie foods first. Enjoy low calorie foods like salad, green beans, tomatoes, pickles, asparagus, broccoli, black or green olives, cauliflower, radishes, celery, peppers and brussel sprouts, before, or while enjoying turkey, dressing and mashed potatoes.
8. Skip the heavy appetizers.  Appetizers usually fill you up with refined sugars, bad fats and empty calories.
9. Take small bites and chew slowly and longer. You can consume 20 percent fewer calories by chewing slowly, because it takes about 20 minutes for the brain to signal you’re full. Chewing longer aids digestion too, because digestion begins in the mouth.
Chewing slowly and longer helps you really taste and savor your food, as well.
10. You don’t have to choose just one dessert. That’s right; don’t limit your options if several desserts appeal to you, just have a little of each. Merry Christmas to all of you, and thank you for all the emails.
Diet or exercise question?
Email me at or visit David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 27 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC-Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse college equestrian team.

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