December 2008 Jimmy Page Fit 4 Ever

Christmas Food Survival Guide

I absolutely love the Christmas season! There’s nothing better than celebrating the birth of our Lord in the presence of family and friends.

For many of us, however, this time of year means we abandon our healthy routines, throw off our restraint, and overindulge in huge quantities of food. There is just something about a huge turkey dinner with stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls and green bean casserole. Finish that with a slice or two of pecan pie, and it’s time for an afternoon nap!

While this may seem like a perfectly normal way of experiencing the holidays, it certainly is not easy on your body. Unfortunately, there is no way for our bodies to use all of that food, and much of it will be stored as fat that we will have to burn off later.

So, what is the solution? How can we simultaneously thank God for His amazing provision and presence in our lives, enjoy our food and keep our bodies free from harm? Is it even possible?

That is the very question I am going to tackle. Consider this your “Christmas Food Survival Guide.”

Many times, in our desire to be healthy or lose weight, we will eliminate certain food choices because they’re just not beneficial to us. While this may be necessary, if we don’t replace those foods with healthy and satisfying alternatives, we are often destined to return to our old habits and be in a worse situation than when we started!

That is the spiritual picture described in Matthew 12:43-45 (NIV): “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first...”

When we try to “clean up our act” by getting rid of sinful and destructive behaviors, if we don’t replace those things with the Holy Spirit and habits that promote intimacy with God, we are destined to return to a worse state than when we started. Apart from the transforming work of God, all of our efforts to clean up our house are futile and burdensome.

The guide below lists several ways to survive the holidays and will prevent you from ending up in a worse condition than when you began. Using these strategies will help you not only survive, but thrive throughout the season. Rely on His strength and wisdom, and give thanks this Christmas.

Holiday Guidelines

Recommended Reading
Eat This, Not That
by David Zinczenko

Pick up a copy of this book to help you select your best options this season. For instance, learn how to choose your healthiest pie options* from pages 172-173:
Pumpkin -- 465 calories -- 25g fat
Blueberry -- 473 calories -- 19g fat
Cherry -- 507 calories -- 19g fat
Apple -- 525 calories -- 19g fat
Lemon -- 562 calories -- 20g fat
Pecan -- 679 calories -- 51g fat

* Serving size = 1/6 of a 9” pie. I would actually recommend cutting it into 1/8 of a pie.

Eat all the things you normally would, but cut the quantities in half. This is a super way to enjoy the tastes of the season without overdoing it.

Eat breakfast as you normally would instead of skipping meals so you can “go all-out” later. This prevents you from overeating.

Use a smaller plate. Not only can you put less food on the plate, but you can actually trick your body into thinking you’re eating a large quantity of food.

Don’t go back for seconds. Commit to eating just one smaller plate of food. We get in big trouble when we go back for more.

Eat dessert, but eat half as much.

Eat slowly and enjoy every bite! You’ll not only be more satisfied, but you won’t feel gross when you are done!

Take a walk before and after the big meal. This helps you burn calories and aids the digestive process.

Chew gum after the meal. This is a great way to prevent mindless eating (and improves your breath) as you catch up with family and friends.

Keep a bottle of water in your hand. This is a healthy reminder not to sabotage your health.

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Courtesy of Rodale Publishing

Medical Disclaimer: All information in this article is of a general nature and is furnished for your knowledge and understanding only. This information is not to be taken as medical or other health advice pertaining to your specific health and medical condition. Always consult a physician or health  professional before beginning any exercise or nutrition program.