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Jim Karas’ (healthy) guide to dinner parties

Jim Karas

Jim Karas

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Updated: January 3, 2013 7:29PM

It happens all the time at parties, dinners, restaurants, you name it.

I walk in and see a few clients, friends and people who might not even know me (but do know what I do for a living) and there’s a collective groan.

I can just hear them under their breath:

“Oh, crap, here’s the food police.”

“Put your fork down; he’s bearing down at 3 o’clock.”

“Honey, put this brownie in your coat pocket.”

People, people, people ... I’m not the food police. I don’t judge. I like to have a good time just like the next person.

But the difference is, I’ve planned what to do and what not to do.

So here is my top 10 list of mistakes that I hope to help you avoid in 2013.

1. Not eating breakfast: Research proves that the bigger the breakfast, the less you will eat the rest of the day.

2. Catching your breath: Yep, give me a good 10 minutes of deep breathing, even if it’s in the car, train or cab on the way to work, and you will reduce your stress hormones and make better food choices all day.

3. Saving your calories for dinner: If you eat very little before going out, odds are you are going to GORGE yourself. Hasn’t that happened to all of us in the past?

4. Skipping exercise: Not only do you need to knock off the extra calories consumed over the holidays, but you need to de-stress after a chaotic holiday season. Exercise reduces stress so it’s the perfect “one-two” punch.

5. Avoiding the scale: The moment we think we are up a few pounds, we avoid the scale. Don’t do it. Research proves that “the more you weigh, the less you will weigh.”

6. Keeping “treats” in eyesight: Research on secretaries and Hershey’s Kisses shows...

• When they put the clear bowl of Kisses on their desk, they ate 14.

• When they put the Kisses in an opaque bowl on their desk, they ate 11.

• When they put the Kisses in an opaque bowl six feet away, they ate six.

So get the treats tucked away and out of sight.

7. Not getting enough sleep: Don’t stay up at night to get one more thing done. Get to bed, as the sleep deprivation negatively impacts our hunger hormones.

8. Cutting back on liquids: Always drink two ounces of water for every ounce of alcohol. By doing so, you will drink less and feel better in the morning, since the alcohol dehydrates you while you are sleeping. You will also look better in the morning since you won’t be dehydrated and puffy.

9. Filling up on appetizers: Unless you’re eating raw veggies or shrimp cocktail, odds are, those bite-sizes offerings have the highest calories of all. That’s right, they may be richer than your dessert. My Greek grandmother used to make cheese- and butter-filled phyllo dough triangles. The calories had to be off the charts!

10. If all else fails, invite me to your next dinner party: I mean it, the moment I arrive, the eating and drinking slows WAY down.

Jim Karas donated his fee for writing this column to The Joffrey Ballet.

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