Health & Wellness

Mindful at Mealtime: The Gift You Give Yourself

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The words “healthy” and “holidays” usually don’t share space, but according to nutritional therapist Catherine Burns of Waterfront Wellness, it’s possible to manage your meals and still enjoy the festive buffet. 

How bad is that holiday pigout? 

On special occasions, “We tend to have an ‘eat it all now while we can!’” says Catherine. “Overeating on occasional days isn’t going to kill you.” 

A one-time mountainous plate can equal discomfort (bloating, heartburn, and fatigue). Be wary, however, of consistent overeating, which can lead to weight gain, and chronic disease. 

Can I still load my plate and go for seconds? 

Of course! When your first plate doesn’t hit the spot, choose protein and extra veg, Catherine suggests, adding: “If you are just picking, go veg-based and keep the carbs on the low-side – especially if you are planning on dessert.” 

I can’t stop snacking! 

Snacking (or ‘tasting’ while cooking) can put a serious dent in your appetite and increase your caloric intake. Feeling peckish? Keep healthy alternatives on hand, and “try to have proper gaps of 2 to 3 hours between meals when you don’t eat anything,” Catherine adds. “If you overdid it in the earlier part of the day, go for a brisk beach walk.” 

Should I be popping bottles or chocolates? 

Come party season, we happily enjoy libations and sweets without remorse. 

“I ALWAYS think drinking your sugar is worse,” Catherine explains, but if you have to have one, “Holiday cookies would be a lesser evil – have a couple with a cup of herbal tea and add a dose of Collagen Hydrolysate (like the Great Lakes brand from Miles) for some lean protein.” 

Catherine explains that having protein with sugar helps to slow sugar release into the bloodstream, cautioning, “Don’t take this as a green light to go for it on the sugar!” 

I still want to eat it all! 

When you can’t help but be tempted by everything, practice portion control and mindful eating. 

“Take a bite… really enjoy it and be ‘in the moment’,” Catherine encourages. Eating slowly allows your body time to recognize that it’s full. More food for thought: 

1. Stick to ¼ plate protein, ¼ plate carbs and ½ plate green/non-starchy veg. 

2. If you are having dessert, keep carbs low with your main (i.e. skip the potatoes and eat the cake, or vice-versa.) 

Reset it but don’t forget it 

Don’t begrudge yourself your holiday indulgence, but if you do find yourself feeling bad, schedule a reset. 

“Make sure you have your reset day in your diary and commit to it,” says Catherine. Draw a line under the holiday eating and go back to your healthy habits. 

“Be real with yourself! If you overdid the treats and you have happy memories from your day, then so be it.” 

Looking for a little healthy-eating advice or tips on how to get back on track? Book into Nutrifit for the New Year, a six-week Optimum Nutrition program run by Waterfront Wellness. Details at 

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