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Buffer your buffet behavior

Holly Lemmons

Retrofit Exercise Physiologist

Holiday parties come in many shapes and sizes. One of the most challenging types for those trying to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle is the buffet. Mountains of food, easily available with no set portion size; it’s no wonder this serving style is a common party season pitfall. What’s more, as guest to a holiday party buffet, you can even feel some social pressure to fill up your plate, even if it’s double, or even triple, the appropriate portion size.

Luckily, there are some strategies you can adopt to help you beat the buffet at this time of year:

Plan ahead

Knowing ahead of time what will be served at a buffet can be a massive help to staying on track. Call your host and ask what they will be serving. Nothing healthy on the menu? Offer to bring something like a salad or a fruit platter. Not only will you be helping the host out, but you’ll ensure there are the right kind of foods available to you, so you can enjoy the festivities in a healthy way.

Don’t ask for seconds; ask for leftovers!

Often, when the host has prepared a beautiful holiday feast, you can feel rude to not take a hearty portion of what they have spent so much time preparing, and even a second hearty portion at that! But instead of eating it all in one go, why not have one balanced plate of their delicious offering, and ask for a second portion to enjoy the next day? Your host will be delighted with the compliment, and you will have dodged a common overeating trap.

Choose what you love, leave what you like.

When trying to live a healthier lifestyle, some sacrifices do have to be made. Take a look at the buffet table and pick out the foods you are dying to have. Be selective and choose one or two for your balanced plate; leave the food you only would like to have. Savor every bite and eat mindfully, you’re getting to eat the food you truly love!

Slow it down

Remember, often when you’re finished eating, your body takes a while to realize that it is full. Chew slowly and practice mindful eating to enjoy every bite AND to give your body some time to catch up. If this is a challenge for you, try putting down your utensils after every bite. If you’re left-handed, use your left hand to hold your plate and your right to use your fork. While it seems simple, this can often be a little more difficult than it seems and can significantly slow down your pace of eating. In addition, anything that you would normally eat with your hands, like sandwiches, pizza, etc, use a fork & knife instead. It’s easy to gobble down finger foods and using a fork and knife will slow you down.

So, this holiday season, don’t fear the buffet, be prepared! Enjoy the company and the conversation of the buffet armed with the comfort that you can fit it into your healthy lifestyle.

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