Season of Temptation
During the holidays, keep this in mind - eat, drink and be healthy
By JANE KWIATKOWSKI
News Staff Reporter
This holiday season, the enemy is not your mother-in-law. It's not
of cookies from your co-worker. And no, it's not even Aunt Flo's
fruitcake, the one used to prop open your storm door. The enemy
season, according to a nutrition expert, is the elastic waistband.
simple, it expands as you do.
"There are two challenges," said nutritionist Sharon Lawrence.
"One is to
eat your normal diet, which is impossible, and the second is to
at a time when there's bone-chilling cold and pitch-black
The participants in The News' Life & Arts Health Challenge are
people, working their way to a new style of living since last
may be diligent, and they may slip, but they know that healthy
eating requires a game plan.
With that in mind, "coach" Lawrence first dishes up sideline
combat this seasonal blitz - or as the challengers call it, the
the expanding waistband. Then the challengers step forward to
thoughts - with focus on one special loss that will make everyone
The 20-minute time out
It takes 20 minutes before food actually leaves your stomach and
small intestine allowing blood sugar to rise and start appetite
according to Lawrence. So before taking that second helping,
advises to wait out those 20 minutes. Talk to someone. Get away
After 20 minutes, if you still want more food, eat! Chances are
Have moderate portions. Not a speck, not one bite, but a portion
will notice and that will satisfy. Eat it slowly, taste it and
know you are
really enjoying it. If it's just one bite, the subconscious is not
"You might get away at that moment with one bite, but chances are
when no one is watching - you will eat and eat to get what it was
needed," Lawrence said.
"Your subconscious will bankrupt you."
Home field advantage
Do not serve food family style, advises Lawrence. Rather, use the
method. In that way, everyone will see the calorie hound who
returns for a
second helping. What's more, temptation will not come knocking via
serving dish that cruises under your nose on its way to the next
Display the food in the kitchen only, said Lawrence. That's where
belongs. Living and family rooms are out of bounds in terms of
Also, do not decorate with food in the designated no-eat zone.
foil-wrapped kisses. The red and green M&Ms, too. Opt for red and
Chinese stress balls.
"People only think they are hungry," said Lawrence. "What they're
looking for is something they can do with their hands. If you can
their hands so they're not smoking or eating, then they don't
Serve portion-controlled food. Cut the lasagna smaller. Serve
gravies, salad dressings and condiments on the side, allowing your
dish up their own. Remember that green-bean casserole? Can the
garnish. Try some almonds instead.
Also, the good hostess always plans a non-eating activity, and we
couch sitting. Muster some energy and go for a calorie-burning
Compile your own scouting report, said Lawrence. Before you go
buffet line, walk it first: plate less and with your hands behind
"See what is actually being served," Lawrence said. "Chances are
foods like the shrimp cocktail, are probably at the end."
Driven by desserts? Here, the best strategy is again to peek
first. Plan the
sweet you will eat, and have a decent-sized portion. Making the
mentally prepares you in advance and avoids impulse eating.
If there's a cocktail hour, arrive 15 minutes late, and keep your
peeled on the walking hors d'oeuvres. They contain the highest fat
should be avoided at all cost, warned Lawrence. Get in the habit
no thank you to items - bacon-wrapped scallops and egg rolls -
"You do not have to eat one bite of everything just because it is
said Lawrence. "Politely say: "That's not one of my favorite
that you are totally stuffed and cannot eat one more bite. Or, if
is exceptionally pushy, put it on your plate and leave it there."
Hold your position
Turn your back on the bar so you're not looking over someone's
the food. Don't sit next to the food - at the end of the couch
next to the
bowl of chips.
"Your hand with its magic eyeballs will feed your mouth
Lawrence said. "Your hand will find the bowl without you even
Besides, you want to take a plate instead of handfuls. Put the
food on a
plate so you can see it in front of you. Then you'll have an
that you determined."