If you clicked on this link because of the title, kindly get your mind out the gutter, creep : )
* Pulls out calculator and computes that the total amount of calories I will consume on Thursday after 12 hours of eating is 6,873.*
Before you look at me cross-eyed, keep in mind that according to the calorie control council, the average person eats about 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day! Good thing I never claimed to be average. Thanksgiving’s inflated caloric intake is just a microcosm of the problem we face with understanding proper food portions. Folks decide that it’s just one day, so who cares if you overload your plate(s); Mom made twelve different dishes and there’s no world in which you don’t try them all.
This is exactly why I planned to make pop-up trips to all my client’s houses this week! Strangely, they weren’t into that idea. So as a happy medium, I felt explaining the importance of sizing your meals would be beneficial to us all.
Whether you endeavor to gain weight or lose it, your food portions matter. Every day I meet people who go hard at the gym but never pay attention to their food portions, so they don’t see results. The thing is, not watching your portion sizes makes you kind of like Penelope—working hard all day at the gym, but ‘at night, by torchlight, you undo what you had done,’ you know? (My name is Zeus—you had to know I know a l’il about Greek Mythology).
In order to lose fat, your body has to burn more energy than it receives. The energy potential of food is measured in calories—which is directly impacted by portion size. So eating too many calories creates more potential energy than the body needs. Since it has no way to burn it off, those calories just hang out and turn into chub. Thus, you gain weight from overeating–whether you consume healthy food options or not.
Yes; EVEN if it’s healthy food like fruit–especially in the form of smoothies with calorie-rich ingredients like yogurt bananas or peanut butter. Sure, those are all healthy items, but the calories they hold also add up. A smoothie can set you back 300-plus calories, depending on what you throw in. And, if that smoothie is a meal replacement, that’s fine. But things get tricky when that high calorie smoothie is considered a ‘snack’ and there’s a full meal chaser coming right behind it. For example, you probably want to avoid the Peanut Butter Moo’d at Jamba Juice, which is a whopping 770.
Here are some ways to manage your food portioning and enjoy your holiday without a visit from me:
1. Learn to read food labels. Pay attention to the calorie and fat content per serving, but also see how many servings are in the container. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard of clients diligently looking for tasty, healthy treats and finding them, only to realize (after eating the everything in the package ) that those awesome nutritional deets were for ONE serving and the package they just ate actually had 3 servings.
2. Don’t skip meals. When you skip meals you’re more likely to eat a larger portion than you need due to the perceived “hunger”.
3. Weigh and/or measure your food. The fact that most people don’t know what a cup fill of rice looks like is a recipe for disaster (see what I did there?) For the holidays, most folks will be away from their kitchen and their scales and measuring spoons. So, you can actually use your eyes and hands to figure out a proper portion size.
4. Use a smaller plate. At home, serve your meals on smaller plates. Your plate will look full, but you’ll be eating less.
5. Slow down and skip second helpings. Eat one reasonable serving. Give yourself time to digest (about 20 minutes) and then ask yourself if you’re still actually hungry. No, literally ask yourself the question and then think about how you feel. Often times, you’ll find that the answer is no and your stomach will tell you as much. On the off chance that you are still hungry, get more and make that serving smaller than your first. Better still, if you are still hungry, make the next thing you eat something completely healthy. Find some carrot sticks or some broccoli.
‘But I don’t WANT carrot stick!’ you grumble in response.
Well then, you aren’t really hungry. See how well that works?
6. If all else fails, remember that balance matters. If you know that all of Mom’s dishes are a must-have, then go for it and enjoy yourself, but plan accordingly. If you plan to put in work on Thanksgiving, perhaps Monday-Wednesday are very low-calorie, low-carb, high-protein meals. Maybe Black Friday (or better still, Small Business Saturday) starts at 1pm because Track Friday began at the gym around 10am.
Now that we’ve gotten logistics out of the way, go forth, my readers and enjoy thy turkey, purple potato salad and stuffing! …Cause I’m sure I’ll see you at the gym on November 28 looking to work that off.
* Puts tupperware in car to get ready for Thursday’s turkey…I mean client visits *