I love quirky science-based weight loss tips, which is why I had so much fun interviewing Heather Hausenblas, PhD. An Associate Professor at University of Florida and Jacksonville University, Dr. Hausenblas is the co-author of five scientific books, published over 80 scientific journal articles and is Scientific Adviser to ResVitále, Fembody Nutrition and Re-Body. In 1998, she received the Sport Science Award of the International Olympic Committee President for her international research in health motivation.
Today I’m talking to her about ways to deal with (avoid?) holiday binge eating. An excerpt:
Lisa: Thanks so much for talking to me today. I’m one of those fat people turned thin, so I’m really nervous about the holidays.
Dr. Hausenblas: Congratulations on your weight loss! You know, most studies show that you only gain about a pound over the holiday season, but the problem is that people tend to keep that weight on all year. Holiday weight gain seems to start now around Halloween.
Lisa: I know! I have to hide the candy in the garage so I won’t eat it.
Dr. Hausenblas: That’s actually a good strategy. Hide it so you won’t think about it. This time of year can be so difficult for emotional eaters in particular because stress is running high and there is a prevalence of tasty, high-dense calorie foods within reach.
Lisa: So how do I stop those cravings?
Dr. Hausenblas: One study by Cornell University found if your plate color matches your food, you’ll eat more. For example, if you put red tomato sauce over pasta on a red plate you would eat more. So use a white plate instead with different colored foods.
Lisa: That’s so weird. (I guess if you want to eat more vegetables, use a green plate.) (Click here to read the Cornell study.) Switching subjects…when I used to work in an office the holidays were a nightmare. Clients gave boxes of candy as gifts, people baked from home and the coffee break room became an impromptu buffet that made me want to snack every time I went there, even though I wasn’t hungry. What would recommend for this situation?
Dr. Hausenblas: First, avoid the break room! Instead of drinking coffee try drinking green tea at your desk. Green tea offers natural weight loss effects and keeps you away from the snacks in the break room. This is a time of good food, so instead of depriving yourself and feeling miserable, cut the doughnut in half and don’t finish it. And really take the time to enjoy it. Don’t multi-task and eat at your desk. Eat slowly.
Lisa: That sounds doable.
Dr. Hausenblas: If you take supplements and want to stop those cravings before going to an office holiday party, try saffron capsules. These Hunger Chews taste like an orange Starburst and contain a novel extract of the exotic spice saffron, which reduces snacking and enhances the experience of satiety through its suggested mood-enhancing
effect. The randomized, placebo-controlled, double blind study of 60 young, mildly overweight women evaluated body weight changes over an 8-week period. While caloric intake was left unrestricted during the study, participants consumed 1 capsule of Satiereal twice a day. Satiereal caused a significantly greater body weight reduction than placebo after 8 weeks, and snacking frequency also was significantly decreased. In fact, snacking decreased by 55 percent in the Satiereal group as compared to 28 percent in the placebo group.
Lisa: What other tips do you have for working moms?
Dr. Hausenblas: Set an alarm on your computer to go off every hour so you get up, stretch, and talk a short walk. When you’re talking on the phone stand up. Standing burns more calories than sitting.
Lisa: Thanksgiving and Christmas is a stressful time for modern families, especially if you have to visit stepparents, half-siblings, plus his family too. Add to that a new baby everyone wants to see and it can be a nightmare. What do you suggest?
Dr. Hausenblas: If possible, have everyone come to your home, that way you don’t have to run around with a cranky baby and you also can control the cooking. If that’s not possible, prepare your family in advance by letting them know you can’t possibly eat ten meals in one day. Go to one house for the meal, another for dessert and so on. You can’t please everyone. Make Christmas Day your own, with just your immediate family. Tell everyone else you will meet them before or after that day. You really want memories of your kids, not driving to eight different places.
Lisa: Are there any stress-relief supplements you recommend?
Lisa: That’s really great advice. Do you have any final, last minute tips to offer?
Dr. Hausenblas: Remember, the holidays should be seen as a time of weight maintenance, not weight loss. If you’re full, stop eating. Keep exercising during the holiday season and eat as clean as you possibly can.
Thanks Dr. Hausenblas!
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