Maintain your weight during the holiday season

December 14, 2010|Lynn Little

The holiday season brings many gifts, including visits with families, friends and special foods. For many, weight gain is also a "gift" of the holiday season.  


The average American is likely to gain 1 pound during the winter holiday season, a relatively small amount; however, this gain is not easily reduced. We tend to hang on to those holiday pounds and then pick up a few more during the next holiday season. To help you maintain your weight during the holiday season here are some tips:  


 Balance party meals with other meals. Eat small meals with fewer calories during the day, so you can enjoy the party without exceeding your entire day's calorie needs. The best way to prepare for a party or a big holiday meal is to eat. Start the day with a low-fat breakfast followed by a nutritious lunch, rather than not eating until party time when you are likely to be ravenous.



 Consume alcohol in moderation, if at all. Alcohol offers little nutritional value and is a source of added calories.  


 Control your calorie intake by choosing drinks with diet or club soda instead of juice or regular sodas. A 12-ounce can of regular soda is about 150 calories with 10 to 12 teaspoons of added sugar. Diet sodas have up to 2 calories and club soda is calorie-free. You can also choose water with lemon or sparkling water as your beverage.  


• Drink plenty of water. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and especially before going to a holiday party. Drinking water will help fill you up and keep you hydrated.  


• Socialize away from the food table. This reduces the urge to overeat and allows one to focus on socializing with friends, family, and coworkers.  


• If you go to a party hungry, you will be more likely to overeat. Curb your appetite by snacking on fruit, pretzels, crackers or low-fat yogurt before you go. Once you are at the party, try not to overindulge.  


• Smaller is better. When the food is served buffet-style, make one trip through the buffet line and take only small amounts of the foods that you really like. Choose from the veggie tray with a small serving of dip. Choose small portions of cheeses. Take small samples of high calorie foods, such as desserts. Avoid going back for second helpings. If you wait 20 minutes for your food to settle, you will most likely realize you are full.


• Listen to your stomach and stop eating when you are no longer hungry. Eating until one is full often results in consuming more calories than we need. Don't feel you have to eat everything.  


• Remember to include some physical activity in your day. If you are like most people, during the holiday season you have probably been doing less activity than usual. Take a walk. Moving for 10 minutes or more can help you get a healthy attitude and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise lets you be in control and helps you keep up your strength and stamina at times when you need it most. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress and boost energy levels, and promote better sleep quality, all things we can use during the holiday season.  


Trying to lose weight during the holiday season is unrealistic. Instead, focus on maintaining your weight with some of the suggestions provided. Eat balanced, healthy meals to offset the occasional indulgence. Depriving oneself of special foods during the holiday season is almost certain to lead to overindulgence and unnecessary guilt.  

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