than any other time, joyful holidays include a lot of gathering and
along with it, great food. Feast days come at different times for
different cultures and religions, but except for those days that
involve religious fasting as a ritual, special days call for special
foods around the world. These are the days when we bring out our
feast foods, and usually they include special drinks (with and
without alcohol), sweet desserts, special meats, salty foods, and
higher fat ingredients. Traditionally, it's a time to enjoy such
indulgence without guilt or remorse, but how do you do that while
you are trying to follow a weight reduction plan, or a diet that
involves modifying your fat or carbohydrate intake because of health
don't want all your efforts to make changes in the way you eat, and
in the way you respond to food to go out the window because of one
or two days, or even a week of feasting. And, it doesn't have to.
Feasting is just that: a special day
that calls for special foods. In days when food was not as plentiful
and had to be hunted, the special feast days may have involved a
time of harvest, or a time of plenty of meat or fish to eat. The
feast days probably did not contribute to permanent weight gain
because after the feasting was over, it was back to normal, everyday
food, and in some cases, even famine until the next time of plenty.
Unfortunately, now that food is plentiful every day in most
industrialized countries, every day is a feast day! When you look at
populations of people who tend to have a lot of obesity (the U.S.,
some European countries, especially), their daily diet contains a
lot of fat, salt, sugar and a good supply of alcohol. The problem,
then, is not holiday feasting, but the everyday food choices we make
that contribute to weight gain.
Enjoy Your Feasting
Working on making every day a regular
day of eating healthier low fat, nutritious foods allows you to
completely enjoy the holiday foods without gaining a lot of weight.
Wouldn't it be great to feel good about eating along with everyone
else, enjoying the company of others and not feeling "left out" or
If you are
following the goals of a healthy eating style and following your
plan, you know that there are specific goals for eating certain
foods. The most important examples of these are limiting regular
cheeses and high fat red meats to once a week or less, high fat
desserts to once a month or less, avoiding higher fat dairy
products, and keeping the oils, butters, and other fats within
healthy guidelines. These are all
traditional feast foods, not daily eating fare. (If you use these
criteria, a typical fast food meal is a "feast" of overindulgence!)
If you have been following your goals, and keeping your total food
intake within the recommendations provided for your weight needs,
you should do just fine if you have a few days of these special
feast foods. Your daily efforts will help balance out the occasional
How Do You Feast?
So, feasting involves a lot of the
foods prepared in ways that are higher in calories and fat, and
typically there's a lot of it. Feasting doesn't have to involve
overeating, however. Choosing to enjoy special foods can be done
without overdoing it, here's how:
portions of most foods.
portions of the foods especially high in fat and calories, and
feast days, try to eat the daily amount of vegetables and
leftovers of "feast foods" or the days following will turn into
a week-long feast!
holiday strategies in the member's section from a few week's ago
for some good ideas.
foods can be a part of a
diet that you can follow for
life. Celebrating with food is a wonderful ritual that we should all
be able to enjoy without detriment to our health. Do not eat as
though it is the last feast day of your life, and you will live long
enough to have many more!