Staying Healthy During the Holiday Pig Out

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Amusing as I find their annual requests, several magazines and newspapers call me each year in search of healthy eating tips around the holidays.

Hello-I have bumper stickers that read “Pro Butter” and “Choose Life with Cream”, so the subject is almost absurd for me to be even considering. I almost have to pretend to research this bizarre topic with enthusiasm and anticipation- hoping that some advice may leak through my veins simply by osmosis, rather than the butterfat content leaking through by ingestion.

Since I work out every Friday at 20 Minutes to Fitness (www.20minutestofitness), I

thought it best to seek the advice of a true professional. Virginia Phillips,

quite honestly, is a big reason why, as a food critic and professional chef, I am not 400 lbs. Let’s not go crazy here- I loathe exercise. I am not a gym rat and even prefer never to wear sweat pants. 20 minutes once a week in a business suit with no sweat is my kind of workout (especially if it precedes a medium rare cheeseburger and fries).

While clearly I noticed an incredible response to my weight training in the past year, I must confess that most of the entire 20 minutes  lifting the weights with my trainer Dale are spent analyzing the amount of mozzarella cheese on a portion of baked ziti at Fillipo’s Pizzeria or whether the Cheesecake Factory really does make the best pumpkin cheesecake. (Sam’s sells this tasty dessert during the holidays for half the price of a cheesecake at the Factory’s restaurant locations) In fact, we are so structured with our “culinary strength training” that whenever the health guru and owner, Virginia Phillips, walks by, we quickly change the subject, often discussing my increase in muscle tone or the benefits of long walks and unsweetened  grapefruit juice!

Nevertheless, honestly, like everyone else- I do need ways to help avoid over eating. So, this year armed with Virginia’s list, I have eaten a salad before each holiday party and yes, it does work. While I may take a taste of the warm apple strudel, I do find it easier to avoid larger portions when I have had a healthy snack.

Virginia’s “How To Avoid The Post Holiday Over-Eating Blahs”

  1. Eat a small, healthy snack before you head to the party
  2. Take a small plate & small helpings
  3. Start with a serving of those healthy veggies
  4. Since it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to tell the brain that it is stuffed, wait before you go back for seconds.

 And while yes, Virginia there really is a Santa Claus- this year I hope that he brings me triple cream brie