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Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?

What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:

We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at

Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.

How to splurge guilt-free during the festive season

You know what? I just can't wait for the holiday season to come! Why? Because of all the choc-o-late! Just kidding - it is summer here, and I am daydreaming of the beach and long swims in the ocean.

Unfortunately, for many of my patients, the holidays have become a source of stress, and many of them tell me 'How will I ever resist all the cakes? And the turkey? And the PIES?'

I completely get that.

Back during my college days, one of my friends would bring food for me whenever she went back home. And let me tell you something: Sudanese food is THE bomb! So when she invited me over, I fasted overnight so that I could eat as much as I can - after all, this was an annual invite. And good food was hard to come by in those days. (Yes, I was studying to become a dietitian...)

And boy did I overeat! I did beat myself up afterwards because I felt SO sick on the train. But I also learned a few invaluable lessons which I'll discuss in this article.

1. If you could avoid all your so-called dietary 'mistakes', you'd miss everything you learned from them.

The following year, I made sure I had breakfast before attending the lunch party at my friend's place. And do you know why I did that?

To eat less? Not exactly. You see, after that overeating incident, I realized that I was so famished upon reaching the party that I was devouring everything I could see. I barely had time to interact with my friends. Or even enjoy the food! And by the time I was done eating, all I wanted to do was lie down.

So, think about last year's parties - if you had to change one thing about the way you splurged or lived through the holidays, what would it be? Do you think you could do it differently this year?

2. It is A-Okay to splurge. But it's way better to do so with a purpose.

One thing that works really well for my patients is to discretely survey the buffet before taking a plate. This can help you decide in advance which foods to try and which ones to skip. Otherwise, you may end up filling your plate with foods that aren't really worth it.

3. It is okay to get 'refills'.

Many of us tend to use large plates so that we can get everything we want from the buffet without having to go for extra rounds. I get it - nobody likes being stared at with an 'Oh, she's going for a third refill…' expression. But hey, these people who judge should just chill. And if you think a small plate will make it easier for you to enjoy all the foods you want without feeling sick, don't let anyone hold you back.

4. Planning for an activity after the meal is a terrific idea.

This could be something fun like going skiing or organizing a treasure hunt or something as simple as going for a walk. Knowing that you'll need to be active after eating will make it easier for you to splurge with a purpose.

Now I'd like to hear from you: what's one thing that helps you splurge without guilt during the holidays?

Submitted by: Shari

Feel free to post about your own journey with Health At Every Size, any questions you may have or suggestions for future topics on our Facebook page or our Forums. Shari also has her own Facebook page .

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