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“TOP 5 Commandments” For Holiday Eating

I. Enjoy yourself! Holidays are meant for fun and celebration.

II. No guilt! I guarantee you that feeling guilty will not leave you eating less or being healthier. It will simply keep you from enjoying what you do eat.

III. Use smaller plates. Smaller plates translate to smaller servings—and still give pretty much the same satisfaction when you’ve cleaned off your plate. Just give yourself this simple rule. It is always okay to go back for seconds, as long as you wait 20 to 30 minutes from the time you began eating.

Why this rule? Because it takes 20–30 minutes for your stomach to send the chemical signal to your brain that it is full. Twenty minutes after eating, you likely won’t want more, or if you do it’ll be just a small amount. But knowing you can have more makes it easy to wait.

IV. Pig out on proteins. Go big on the turkey and other proteins, which are less likely to pack on the pounds. Ease back on the carbs, like stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce (but savor the few bites of each you put on your plate).

V. Go light on the sweets and desserts—which is what really crashes people during holidays. If you see ones that look yummy, that you really want to have, put a bite or two of each on a serving plate and walk away from the serving dish. Then savor it with no guilt.

Can’t have any sugar? Pack some sugar-free chocolate with you. For a real treat, check out the Abdallah’s Candies sugar free line. (http://www.abdallahcandies com/%2FSUGARFREE-CHOCOLATES-C63.aspx )

The problem is when people do feel guilty about eating a dessert, they inhale it quickly without even tasting it. Not having tasted it, they go back for more and keep repeating the cycle. Instead, realize your sweet tooth taste buds are saturated after one or two bites, and the one or two bites are not what pack on the pounds, so enjoy and savor them—guilt free.

If you find you have flaring of sinus problems or irritable bowel syndrome (gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation) along with exhaustion and widespread achiness, there is a good chance sugar-excess triggered fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome is the problem. A good holistic doctor or fibromyalgia specialists (www.FibroandFatigue. com) can help you treat these effectively.

A few added thoughts: When it comes time for New Year’s resolutions to recover from the holidays, I invite you to stop “shoulding” on yourself. As you tell yourself “I should do this or should do that” it is your way of saying you don’t really want to do it, you’re not going to stick with it, and you simply are going to beat yourself up with guilt over it. Instead, find one or two changes that feel good to make (e.g. if you want to increase exercise, perhaps it could be by window shopping, and parking at the far end of the mall parking lot.)

If you want a wonderful New Year’s resolution decide that feeling guilty is a useless feeling (it doesn’t stop people from doing things—it just adds the burden of feeling bad). Give yourself permission to give up guilt for the New Year!

Remember, life is supposed to be fun—and it’s okay to enjoy it! Happy Holidays!

Jacob E Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is a board certified internist and Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and Chronicity. He is author of the popular free iPhone application "Cures A-Z," and author of the best-selling books

Dr. Teitelbaum knows CFS/fibromyalgia as an insider — he contracted CFS when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. In the ensuing 25 years, he has dedicated his career to finding effective treatments.