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Q&A: Dietitian recommends skipping common foods for family traditions

Karen Massey has taught weight loss for more than 30 years. The Integris dietitian has several tips and things to consider about how to eat healthy during the holidays.
by Jaclyn Cosgrove Published: November 23, 2013

Losing weight is challenging enough.

But keeping weight off when your options are turkey, dressing and your grandma's pecan pie? No way.

Thanksgiving is the start of a festival of eating, and the beginning of a lengthy challenge for people trying to lose weight or sustain weight loss.

Karen Massey, a dietitian at Integris Health, answered a few questions about how Oklahomans can enjoy the holidays, despite obstacles in their diets.

How should people approach dieting during the holidays?

During the holidays, it might be easier to focus on sustaining a weight, rather than continued weight loss during the holidays, she said.

That way, you don't gain weight, but you also allow yourself a few more calories here or there.

It's also important to remember portion control. Massey said she generally recommends filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, saving a corner for starch and another corner for protein. This can help you make better choices about what you will eat.

“You're particularly looking for the items you're treating yourself with and skipping over the things that are going to be at every potluck dinner,” she said.

What are some ways people can set themselves up for success?

Preplanning is important. As silly as it might sound, it's helpful to make a mental picture of what you're going to eat before the meal. Holiday menus are generally the same for most families, so pick out what your favorite things are and how you'll fill your plate with them.

“If you've already planned and given yourself complete permission to eat it, then when it's all over, you've stuck with your plan and feel proud that you've stuck with your plan,” she said. “Even if your plan was a few more calories than you normally allow, you've made a reasonable plan and you stood with it. Be proud of that.”

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by Jaclyn Cosgrove
Medical and Health Reporter
Jaclyn Cosgrove writes about health, public policy and medicine in Oklahoma, among other topics. She is an Oklahoma State University graduate. Jaclyn grew up in the southeast region of the state and enjoys writing about rural Oklahoma. She is...
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