Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

November 4, 2008
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

We are quickly approaching the season of overeating – the average person gains 10 – 15 pounds between Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day – so this seasonal weight gain will no doubt be compounded by your response to the election results. As my grandmother use to say, “People eat and drink when times are good and…when times are not so good.”

So, let me once again remind you that the key to keeping excess weight off during stressful or happy times is to control your food sensitivities as well as insulin levels. The biggest culprits are grains, dairy, yeast, sugar, and unfermented soy. Research in Lancet in the late ’90’s suggests that negative reactions to various foods can show up as a racing pulse, tiredness, bloating and water retention. All food sensitivities can slow down metabolism and create major food cravings and food “highs” because of opiate-like secretions. That’s why all of the major culprits are off limits on my diet programs.

The insulin connection is equally as basic. Insulin, a fat storage hormone, is controlled by carbohydrates. The carbohydrate craze is so intensified during the holiday season that many Americans end up having high insulin levels for the better part of an entire month. Common problem carbs you will find at the Thanksgiving table include dinner rolls, mashed potatoes, bread stuffing, cornbread, “candied” yams and sweet potato pie laced with sugar. If you remember that high insulin levels equal weight gain, than you will have a handle on understanding the hormonal effects of foods.

5 Top Notch Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain.

If you start now, you may even lose a pound or two or three or …..more. These are tried and true tips from researchers around the world so dig in:

1) Have your main meal at lunch, not dinner. By just following this one tip, you can lose up to 10 pounds in no time at all. I was first introduced to this idea when I was a student at Columbia. Interestingly, the principles of Ayurvedic medicine, the 5,000 year-old approach to wellness in India, concurs. The thinking is that digestive “agni” or digestive juices are highest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. which suggests we should be eating our largest meal around midday.

2) Soup it up. The Japanese have always begun their meals with a bowel of broth-based veggie soup. You can, too. We have great soup ideas on the Forum and in the Fat Flush Cookbook. A two year French study of over 5,000 participants found that those who consumed soup five to six times during the week were considerably leaner than those who didn’t.

3) Mix it up flavorwise. Ayruvedic medicine says that including the six basic tastes — sour, sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent – is a key to dietary satisfaction and putting a lid on cravings. Sour? Sauerkraut might fit the bill (homemade, of course)…Sweet? Cinnamon and cloves to the rescue. Salty, nothing wrong with a tad of salt itself to bring out flavor, especially if low blood pressure is your issue (and you are on a LIfestyle version of Fat Flush). Pungent and astringent? Can’t think of anything more “puckery” than cran-water.

4) Color is key. Aim for five colors per meal, like the Japanese. Red peppers, purple cabbage, white onions, black olives…you get the picture.

5) Oil’s well that ends well. YES, those healthy oils will provide the “satisfaction factor” and keep your blood sugar stable for three to four hours. My faves: flaxseed oil, fish oil, and olive oil.

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Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


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