Advice from the Trenches: Battling Holiday Bloat

dietDear C;

The holidays aren’t even over, and already I feel so bloated and disgusting that I can’t stand to look at myself. I keep wearing the same stretch pants with various tunic tops and scarves over them. Nothing else fits. But I feel so left out and sad if I go to a party and there’s all this amazing stuff and everyone gets it but me. What makes the holidays a joyous thing is sharing food – I don’t remember much else about childhood holidays, but boy, do I remember the peppermint fudge and those little tarts with bacon and melted cheese.

So – got any suggestions for January? I want to get back to normal, but after a month of indulgence, I am fighting food and sugar cravings so much, it’s painful. How do I reset my appetite without some insane diet that leaves me weak and empty?

Bernice the Blimp

Dear B;

I hear ya. We live in a culture that starts throwing twinkling lights, chocolate and melted butter in our faces mere hours after Halloween is over. We are enticed to partake and share, and who wouldn’t want to anyway? Oh, for those rich peanut butter drop cookies with the Hershey’s kiss melting in the middle…

Luckily for you, there’s a way to reset your appetite without resorting to extremes. If you want to reduce a sugar craving, nutritional researchers have developed some fairly painless ways to do it. Here’s a two-day reset diet that works like a charm that I learned while working in weight loss clinic. Note: it’s always smart to check with your doctor before starting any diet.

Mandatory:

  • 8 to 9 glasses of water if small to medium body size; 9 to 10 glasses if larger size.
  • 5 apples or oranges (no substitutes) if small to medium body size; 7 apples or oranges if larger body size.
  • 2 teaspoons of uncooked, unheated olive oil – you cannot use this oil to fry food!

You may not drink diet soda or any other artificially sweetened beverage, any alcoholic beverages or any cough medicines or other remedy syrups that contain sugar or artificial sweeteners. Black coffee is limited to one cup and caffeinated teas to two cups; these cannot substitute for water, although herbal teas can count toward the total.

FOOD

Fruit: None other than mandatory fruits

Oils and fats: None other than 2 teaspoons of uncooked oil

Condiments: No seasoning or sauce that contains sugar or contains any additive ending in “ose”; it is all sugar. Use only sea salt – regular table salt has sugar added. You may have vinegar, red & black pepper, simple spices or mustard.

Carbohydrates, and grains: No bread, cereal or grain.

Nuts and legumes: None.

Vegetables: You may have all you want of green leafy vegetables, cucumber, yellow squash, bok choy, green beans, asparagus, red lettuce, broccoli, mushrooms, green or red peppers and celery. Just about anything leafy and light is okay. But no starchy root vegetables, carrots or corn (it’s a grain, not a vegetable). BONUS: you may have one small baked or steamed potato with each meal, as long as you eat the skin, too. No butter or sour cream!

Protein: You may have several servings over the day, but you must wait at least three hours between each serving. A serving-sized piece is 3 oz, or about the size of your palm. You can have turkey, eggs (three equals one serving), lean beef, tofu (see package for serving size), tempeh, chicken, seafood (except scallops or lobster), lean pork and other lean meats. No processed meats or deli meats (many have sugar added). Steam, simmer, roast or bake all protein.

Dairy: None, except for low fat cottage cheese. A half cup equals one protein serving.

Basic rules: Only one serving of protein at any meal and as much as you want of allowed vegetables. You must have the olive oil; it helps emulsify fat. You must drink the water; it also emulsifies fat and keeps your system running properly. You must eat the fruit; it supplies fiber and prevents the nasty headache you can get from sugar withdrawal. If you get one anyway, eat 1 teaspoon of honey, drink 1/2 cup of hot water, and lie down for 15 minutes. Stop eating for the day at 8pm.

After two days on this diet, your carb cravings will be if not gone, significantly reduced. But remember: Don’t stay on this diet. Ease back to a more normal diet immediately, and get on with your life. Start by adding a serving of whole grains or starches to each meal. Your re-set appetite and common sense should be able to take it from there!

And please – let me know how you do. My observations and the feedback I got from clients at the weight loss clinic is what really helped me to understand how differently the many bodies of this world can react to otherwise similar circumstances.

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