Who doesn't want second helpings?

Fall seemed to arrive pretty quickly this year. After a smoke-filled August cut our summer unusually short, the rain and cooler weather got right in and let us know fall was definitely here to stay. Although I miss the warmth of summer and eating outside on the deck, the beautiful autumn colours combined with the cornucopia of produce we have available here in the Okanagan at harvest time is always a recipe for something good.

The time between October and January is the time of year where, if a person were going to let his/her health slide resulting in a little (or a lot!) of weight gain, it would be here. There are a number of things that factor in and contribute; fewer daylight hours creating a tendency to spend more time indoors with less physical activity; temperatures drop dictating we swap out bathing suits and shorts for bulky sweaters and jeans; and then of course, this time of year is also the biggest season for food.

October has Thanksgiving and Halloween – both savoury and sweet treat options here. And for all the snow birds flying south, November offers up a second Thanksgiving celebrating with our US friends. November also kickstarts all manner of Christmas parties, and festive gatherings that continue into December and right up until the actual Christmas brunch, lunch, dinner or, let's face it, some of us partake in all three! Any one or all of these then often get repeated to some degree just one week later as we ring in the New Year. Feeling the urge to undo that top button already?

So with the impending season of food looming upon us, and the helpless feeling of how to stay on track amidst the gravy and candy and then armed with body camouflaging sweaters, well you get the picture. This festive time of year could easily be changed to feast-ive. I've even heard people not-so-jokingly comment they're “putting on that extra layer” for winter. And then, of course there's a bit of a panic in spring when the sweaters get put away and we start to wonder if we're going to fit into last year's shorts. If this has been you in the past, embrace Thanksgiving and the feast-ive season this year and be confident that by having second helpings, you can avoid that entire scenario. Yep, that's right. Seconds.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but generally what happens at almost every celebratory dinner, dinner party, holiday feast, or indulgent food-fest of some description is people head into it like they're never going to get to eat that particular food again. And they load up their plates only to complain about feeling uncomfortable and having to loosen top buttons and undo belts. Sound familiar? If you were to approach the meal with the mindset, not that you'll be having less or somehow miss out, but that get to have it twice rather than just once, chances are you'll be less likely to stuff yourself and eat only until satisfied. In choosing smaller amounts of everything you'll come away from the table satisfied, comfortable with your pants properly fastened and you'll be less likely to lose the rest of the day sleeping off a food coma that comes with overindulging. Three to four hours later, you'll start to feel hungry again and then bring on the second helpings.

By choosing two smaller meals three hours apart, you're effectively stabilizing your blood sugar, which in turn keeps your metabolism turned on and burning fat. You can even further refine your results by choosing sweet potatoes over white, steamed veggies and/or salad greens over dinner rolls and stuffing, and sparkling water with lemon or lime over alcohol. The bottom line is always, the better we are at stabilizing blood sugar, the more efficient our bodies become at burning fat. And let's face it, who doesn't want to enjoy holiday meals and burn fat at the same time?

Listen for Tania on the Okanagan's NEW digital radio station Okanagan Valley Radio with Allan Holendar and also for her weekly For the Health of It podcasts coming soon!

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