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Holiday Tips by Dr. Doug Lisle

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October 31, 2013

Thank you to Dr. Lisle and the McDougall Program for sharing this article with us.

Avoid the Annual "Contest" by Being Prepared!

With the holidays approaching, many health conscious folks know they are going to soon be tested. They will be tempted by holiday goodies, and by their friends' and families' urging – to indulge. To join “The Contest.”

What is “The Contest?”

In America, “The Contest” is the annual ritual that takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day – to see just how fat and sick we can get! And it is easy enough to be a winner, as all it takes is to blindly follow our instincts. Those instincts will consistently lead us astray – right into high-fat, high-sugar, unhealthy foods.

It can be useful to be mentally prepared to avoid “The Contest” by having a few simple strategies in place.

Helpful Hint #1: Eat something healthy before you go!

If you plan to visit friends and family, and you know that healthy foods will be scarce, it is perfectly fine to have a substantial healthy snack before you go. That way, even if you are tempted and boxed into a bit of an unhealthy situation, you are less likely to jump “whole hog” (so to speak) into “The Contest.”

Helpful Hint #2: Eat in Order!

Sometimes when we are presented with an array of delicious treats, it is tempting to start with the richest, tastiest treat in front of us. This is totally natural, as we are designed by nature to seek out the most calorically rich foods available. If those foods happen to be artificially concentrated concoctions of sugar and fat, so much “the better.” Our natural tendencies can be easily pulled off a healthy course.

One way to reduce the damage (and the temptation) is to eat in order! Make sure you have some raw vegetables (such as salad or fresh vegetables) first. Although these are the least calorically dense foods and therefore tend to be the least enjoyable, if we start here, such healthy foods have some appeal. Then move to the next most calorically dense foods, which are cooked vegetables. Finally, then eat to satisfy your hunger with healthy starches, such as potatoes, yams, beans, rice, or pasta. Once you have eaten your healthy fill, then it is time for a bit of holiday indulgence. After a nice full meal of healthy foods, you can only enjoy so much of any tasty treat. But beware, if you begin with tasty treats, you may eat your fill of such foods, as less calorically rich healthy foods will have much less appeal. Eating in order is a useful strategy to help keep yourself from racking up a big score.

Helpful Hint #3: More Means Less – So Eat More!

One of the most common misconceptions around holiday time is the idea that “if I am going to eat some treats, then I need to eat less to make up for it.” This is a big mistake. The truth is that if you try to eat less in order to make up for high-calorie treats, you will just make yourself hungry, and indulge all the more.

A key strategy to not being a Contest winner is to eat as much healthy food as you like! The more healthy foods you eat, the less total “illegal” treats you will be likely to consume. As a result, you wade through the Contest and achieve an excellent, minimal score.

These three tips can help you to sail through the holidays and set yourself up for an excellent beginning to the New Year.

Meet Dr. Doug Lisle at the McDougall Program and learn how to get control of your life – before any more time is wasted.

For more information on the McDougall Program call (800) 941-7111 or (707) 538-8609 or see our web site at

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