Guest Column: Holiday indulgance

By Dr. Jonathan Taylor

Northern Illinois Medical Group

It’s the holiday season once again, and that means celebrations of the season have begun. Many of my patients are asking me how they can follow their diets during the holidays. The reality is that everyone is going to cheat on their diet to some extent over the holidays. The key to surviving on a diet during the holidays is to prepare for the temptations before they arrive.

If you are going to a party or dinner where you know they will be serving sweets, prepare by eating a healthy snack or small meal before you go so you are not as likely to overindulge at the party. When we are very hungry, we tend to overindulge and to eat too fast. The signal from your stomach to your brain to tell you it’s full takes time, usually up to 20 minutes.

One method to try to decrease overeating is to take three or four large bites of whatever you are eating and then completely stop eating for 10 minutes. This will give your stomach a chance to tell your brain you’ve had enough.

Another pitfall of holiday parties is the abundance of sweets. Eating too many sweets will cause your blood sugar to rise and fall quickly, which is stressful on your body. Try to increase your servings of foods high in fiber, like vegetables, as the fiber will help to slow the release of sugars into your bloodstream.

An ideal diet would include 10 servings of vegetables per day, with a variety of different colors of vegetables. Divide your plate into thirds, with one-third salad or raw vegetables, one-third cooked vegetables and one-third protein. As for starches, take a small handful or less, or skip them entirely so you can have a similar-sized portion of a healthy dessert. Remember to drink plenty of water, especially if drinking any alcohol. Water is needed for your body to process your food and to avoid dehydration and hangover symptoms.

Whatever you are going to do this holiday season, just remember to use moderation, and don’t let your indulgence discourage you from returning to your diet after the holidays. All of us at Northern Illinois Medical Group wish you and your families the best for the holiday season and the coming new year.

Dr. Jonathan Taylor of Northern Illinois Medical Group, 5301 E. State St., Suite 101, Rockford, IL 61108, can be reached by phone at (815) 397-8500 or e-mail at, or visit

From the Dec. 23-29, 2009 issue

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