How to think your way through the holidays

Y’all seriously. Nutrition is such a mind game. Well, and a numbers game. We never know what we should eat and we are always hearing conflicting information on different foods- my favorite food that people ask about is bananas! (you know this meme is hilarious).

So how do we figure it all out?? First you need to know your numbers- how many calories and grams of carbs, fat, and protein can you have (based on your individual lifestyle and needs) each day to lose weight? Or to just maintain? Or to even gain in a healthy way? Then, you need to know about how many of each of those numbers are in the foods you eat in order to make sure you don’t eat too many. Here is an example:

“Sally is trying to lose 10 pounds. All day she has eaten perfectly planned meals and snacks provided by her dietitian, Constance. Yesterday on Dr. Oz, Sally heard that taking coconut oil was good for her and could prevent cancer. Sally decided she would take 4 Tbsp. of coconut oil every day because she does not want cancer and it is good for her right? At the end of the week, Sally gained a pound. Sally is sad because she thought she did everything right, and calls Constance crying.”

So. Where was Sally’s downfall? IN THE NUMBERS! She heard coconut oil was good to eat and thought she was doing the right thing! Sally did not even consider that the good-for-her-cancer-stopper could affect her weight loss. Now, please note that the focus here is not on coconut oil and whether it is good or bad for you. The focus is on the fact that Sally consumed almost 500 extra calories EVERY NIGHT that was not accounted for. Good or bad, all foods still contribute to our overall caloric intake.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of “good for you” products and foods out there that people have the same ideas about. You have to make ROOM for these healthy foods.

Even worse, some people are totally misinformed about the nutrition makeup of foods! Avocados are one of my favorite misconceptions. Yes. Avocados are great! They provide good, heart healthy fat and are tasty and filling. BUT. If you eat a WHOLE DANG AVOCADO you have consumed 30 grams of fat in one sitting!!!! So if you are misinformed about what you are putting in your mouth (and you likely don’t even know that you are misinformed), you are already set up for failure. EDUCATE yourselves on nutrition. And I don’t mean by googling mommy blogs. Find an expert and get the real facts!

Also, I said nutrition is a mind game. Once you know the facts about foods, you will know what a slice of grandma’s famous cheesecake will cost you nutrition-wise. Then it is up to you to decide if it is worth it.

I have said it for as long as I can remember, and I will continue to say it- I refuse to miss out on the yummy things in life. This year, I am going to eat the foods that I find irresistible at holiday gatherings. The only reason that I can do that and not gain weight is by using my knowledge to determine which foods and their serving sizes will “fit” into my intake for the day. It comes so naturally now that I don’t have to log my food into an app or even write it down! Until you are equipped with the right knowledge, nutrition will always be harder than it has to be.

Learn to think right y’all, and then i promise- it is easy peasy!

Click here for more blogs on how to prevent holiday weight gain!

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