Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Winter Base Training - Avoid the Holiday Binge With These Tips

Avoiding the dreaded "Holiday Binge" seems daunting. Especially if your spouse is a great baker as mine is. My wife could make an old running shoe a delectable treat. I digress. Whether it is food, alcohol, or peppermint hot chocolate, it is pretty easy to overeat around the holidays. Take control and avoid the Holiday Binge.

Bob's passion for eating was only matched
by his passion for stacking plates
These tips should help you skate past New Year's Day and into 2012 without missing a beat (and restricing yourself too much!). The top four things that appear to make us feel the most full are:

1) Fiber is key - Without a doubt, few things make us feel more full than fiber. There are a lot of products out there marketing themselves as having a lot of fiber (including this WhoNu Cookies), but when push comes to shove, there is no replacement for obtaining your macro-nutrients from whole foods, not "enriched" products. Simply eating fruits and vegetables with every meal (aim for at least 1-2 servings per meal) will be a big step.

2) Don't skimp on the protein - Along with fiber, protein has been shown to help with feeling satiation - the feeling you get from eating food that lets you know you are full. Lean proteins are crucial in this regard. I keep a bag of frozen chicken on hand at all times and will thrown an oven cooked breast into a simple salad (filled with lots of fiber rich veggies). A baked potato with some lean ground meat (I love ground chicken, but ground turkey breast and lean beef is great, also) and some corn is personal favorite. Sometimes I will simply make a little rice, steam some veggies, and throw on a chicken breast on salmon fillet for protein. Easy, quick, and little clean up.

3) Hungry? Maybe you're THIRSTY - If you find yourself hungry when you don't think you should be, get a glass of water. You may be thirsty. Our body tells us we are thirsty a few ways, and the hunger mechanism appears to be one of them.

4) Slow down your eating - When measured on a "food per minute" basis (not sure where they came up with that), people who were "observed" to be obese ate more than the "non-obese". And even without digging into studies, it is easy to see once we put this into practice. Leo Babauta over at Zen Habits says it best, "if you are eating, only eat. Don't read...or watch TV." Take the time to have a conversation with your loved ones. Maybe the loss of the family dinner has implications on our rapidly growing obesity epidemic.

I've been trying to find an article from Runner's World where I first found the below list, but here is the gist (posted another video that is helpful as well below). When you are faced with a food dilemma, remember the Three P's:

1) Priority - What is your priority in this situation? Is my goal more important than eating this (cookie, cake, pie, "thing that Nana brought")? Will eating this help me achieve my goal?

2) Portion - Keep in mind what a normal serving sized portion is. For most meats, that is 4 oz, e.g.

3) Pace - If I do eat this, how fast should I eat it? Want to indulge in an Oreo cookie? How many bites can you make it? Swallowing it whole won't satisfy your craving, but eating it in 3 or 4 bites might.

I'll add one more - if you are eating it, enjoy it.
A light snack
Remember that urges come and go like low points during a training run or long race. Just accept that it is here, don't ignore it, and realize it will pass. Maybe I've been spending too much time over at Zen Habits!

To wrap things up, don't avoid food during the holidays. But remember THERE ARE ways to reduce your cravings and urges. Eat healthy and natural and you can't go wrong.

Happy Thanksgiving and God Bless you and your family!

Natural Foods to Eat & Drink That Suppress Appetite

What makes us feel full? The satiating power of foods

Eating in public places: a review of reports of the direct observation of eating behavior.

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