By Dr. Dean Ornish, the author of five best-selling books
What about holidays
Itís not just what you do during holidays; itís how you eat the rest of the year that truly makes a difference.† Keep to a healthier diet leading up to the holidays, to leave room for treats.
I can motivate myself to exercise a bit more before the season if I know Iím going to indulge later on.† It helps to view foods as a spectrum of choices, not as rigid ďgoodĒ and ďbadĒ foods.† Once you label foods as ďbad,Ē you may feel youíre a bad person when you eat them.
This often leads to a vicious circle, in which you may say, ďI feel so bad about cheating that I might as well just eat everything now.Ē† Sound familiar?
Instead, find ways to strike a balance:† If you indulge one day, eat better the next.† Likewise, if you donít have time to exercise one day, do a little extra the next.
Canít meditate for 20 minutes?† Do it for one Ė consistency is more important than duration.
Allow for indulgences
The people with the best diet overall allow for indulgences.† So if you eat a balanced diet, thereís room for the occasional scoop of ice cream.† Finding a combination of being mindful of what and how you eat and allowing yourself treats can make the holidays joyful, not stressful.
When someone offers you food at a party or dinner have a few bites and tell them how delicious it is.† Thank them for the love and caring they put into making it.† That will be more meaningful to them than if you just ate the whole thing.
At a buffet, fill part of your plate with foods that are high in fiber and low in fat, sugar and salt, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.† Put sauces on the side, dip the tip of your fork in when you take a bite to get the flavor with fewer calories.
If youíre hosting a party, try to offer a wide range of choices, from the most healthful to the most indulgent.† In our research, weíve learned that itís not enough to focus on diet and exercise; we need to address what motivates us.
For many p[people, the holidays are depressing, and when people are down they often overeat and drink to numb these feelings of pain.† To offset these negative emotions, call a wise friend, do charity work, or talk with your local minister or a therapist.† Then the holidays can be a time for transforming our lives rather than our waistlines.
How we eat is just as important as what we eat. And during the holidays, itís easy to eat without awareness.† At a party, you can down an entire plate of food while your attention is focused on your conversation, not on you meal.† You look down, the plate is empty and you wonder, did I eat this?† You hardly tasted it.† You had all the calories without pleasure.† Maximum calories, minimum pleasure.
If you eat with awareness, youíll get more enjoyment with fewer calories.† For example, I love chocolate.† So I find a piece of premium dark chocolate, close my eyes, smell it and put it in my mouth.
With my eyes closed, I notice the flavors and textures and how they change as the chocolate melts in my mouth, like hearing different harmonics in music. After a while, I swallow the chocolate but continue to savor all the flavors that change and evolve over the next few minutes.
Do this with any food to experience exquisite pleasure with a small number of calories.† Maximum pleasure, minimum calories.
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