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5 Tips to Avoid 5lbs this Holiday Season

With the holiday season in full swing it’s easy to overindulge on the delicious meals and desserts in your (very) near future. Help yourself avoid extra holiday pounds with these simple tips.

1. Eat before you go

If you’re starving when you arrive to your event you’re more likely to overeat. Help prevent this with a small snack or meal before you walk out the door.
2. Watch what you drink

Wine, beer and all of those artisanal house drinks come with a side of hefty calories. Intersperse sparkling water with lemon to keep your calories (and hangover) in check.
3. Keep up with your exercise routine

It’s easy to cancel your spin class for another holiday party, but good decisions lead to more good decisions and exercise will help burn calories and give you the energy you need for that extra party.
4. Step away from the cheese plate

And the other appetizers for that matter. Take a plate of apps, walk away and enjoy some conversation. You won’t mindlessly nibble and won’t be given dirty looks for cornering the area for yourself.
5. Indulge but don’t over indulge 

Let’s face it, you’re going to try many amazing dishes, but keep in mind that after 3-4 bites of a food it typically loses some appeal. So, enjoy all of your favorites, but say “no” to the second helping or the biggest piece of pie.

Inside Secret Menus

X City Life magazine in London recently explored the reasons behind the popularity of ordering off-menu or “secret” items. These options tend to be supersized, high calorie combinations for which most restaurants would get bad press. Why do I think people are drawn to them? See my thoughts here on page 56 (58 on the pdf).


New Year, New You

The new year is just getting underway, and I hope you’re all thinking about how to achieve your goals and haven’t given up after only a few days!  The best way to reach your goals is to break them down into small achievable parts. Before you know it your main goal will be crossed off your list.

Here are a few ideas for the new year:

Goal 1: Try one new food per month. Or per week, or before the end of the year. Whatever works for you.

Goal 2: Get more physical activity each day. Walk farther to the bus or train or to get lunch, take the stairs instead of the elevator or simply walk over to your co-worker instead of emailing or texting them. Already active? Aim to add one workout to your week, or add an element to your existing workout routine.

Goal 3: Eat one vegetarian meal per week. Then increase it to one per day. If you already eat a lot of vegetarian meals try to change one of them to a vegan meal.

Goal 4: Take time for yourself. Read, write, get the 10 minute foot massage with your pedicure, see an independent film, meditate. Regardless of what it is don’t feel guilty, just enjoy it.

Goal 5: Do something for someone else. Think about volunteering, donating to an organization that’s important to you, or giving up your seat on the bus or train to someone who needs to sit more than you do.

Goal 6: Feel Inspired

Goal 7: Challenge Yourself

Holiday Gift Ideas

The cheese lover Saxelby Cheesemongers on the Lower East Side is offering farmstead cheese delivered to your doorstep! Whether you want one delivery now or your gift of cheese to last all year, Saxelby has the perfect gift for you.








Ages 3-103 – Everyone needs ice in their drink at some point, why not liven it up with these polar bear and penguin ice cube molds?








The Chef – Use Local Harvest to find a farm in your area where you can buy a CSA share (Community Supported Agriculture). Most farms will send you a box of farm fresh goodies every week for a set time period during the year. If you think it’s too much look for a half-share or find a friend to split it with.




The Chocoholic – If you’re looking for high end sweets for a discerning palate look no further than Francois Payard.  From delicious chocolates to French style macaroons that are worth the money your gift is sure to impress.









DIY – Sometimes the most appealing gift is one that you’ve made yourself. If you’re set on giving something in a mason jar with a handwritten tag, or sweets in a hand decorated box, Edible DIY can help you achieve your goal.










The Philanthropist – The holidays are the perfect time to give back. Whether it’s an organization that holds special meaning to you or one like Secret Sandy which was just started to give kids affected by the hurricane a gift that they wish for, your money will make a difference to someone this holiday season.

All pictures taken from company or product websites.

The Skinny on Skinny Drinks

Bathing suit season is here, and with it are ads for frozen drinks to keep you refreshed and for skinny drinks to keep you looking hot in that teeny tiny bikini. But, how skinny will those “skinny drinks” make you? It comes down to numbers, and a look into the psychology of advertising.

First, the numbers, starting with margaritas. 4oz of margarita mix is ~105 calories and 1 oz of tequila contains ~64 calories. Based on the margarita recipe on the Margaritaville Mix site (6oz mix, 2oz tequila), you’ll consume ~295 calories per drink. With the do-it-yourself peach margarita recipe pictured above (1oz triple sec, 1oz lime juice, 2oz peach nectar, 2oz tequila -serves 1), you’ll have something at least as, and dare I say more, delicious, for ~266 calories (without the peach it will be ~230 calories). This gives you a savings of ~30-65 calories. I know what you’re thinking, that’s not very much. A 6 oz serving of a Skinnygirl margarita is ~213 calories based on the nutrition facts on their website. Jose Cuervo Light Margarita Mix is 140 calories per 6oz serving. This is a more significant calorie savings vs the regular mix, and remember, there are lower calorie maragarita recipes, such as this one for ~200 calories. Which margarita is the better choice?
Here is another number example using wine. Wine is ~125 calories per 5oz, Skinnygirl wine has 100 calories per 5oz. Again, not a big difference in calories. Champagne and sparkling white wines also have ~100 calories per 5oz. Where do all of these numbers leave you when deciding what to drink? With advertising.

The biggest key to what you buy day in and day out is advertising. Many times brand loyalty is developed by growing up with a brand, but when you’re ready to make a change, it’s all about what you see. Advertising plays to your insecurities. For women who want to lose weight the words “low”, “skinny” and of course “diet” are all key words when choosing a product. These terms also unconsciously give consumers the license to eat or drink more, thus negating the lower calorie choice in the first place. The calories in the regular and low calorie versions of the drinks above are not that different, so by allowing yourself 2 low calorie drinks instead of 1 regular drink, the increase in total calories consumed may eventually appear on your waistline. At a party you may allow yourself a few extra appetizers or a larger dessert because you made a “good” choice with your drink, thereby adding even more calories. The same rule applies to diet beverages, think about the food you order when it’s paired with a diet soda.

Advertising is also about product sales, by encouraging you to have more glasses of a “skinny” drink because it’s a theoretically better choice, you are also buying more wine and spending more money. By appearing to help you control your weight these brands are also helping themselves. I haven’t tasted the wines or margarita mixes mentioned above, but what I can say is that many times a smaller portion of a full calorie food can be much more satisfying then a larger portion of an imitator.