December 15, 2013

Nine Ways To Fight Holiday Weight Gain

It is a myth that most people gain 5 pounds or more over the holidays, but research has shown that those who are already overweight are more likely to put on the pounds.  These strategies can ensure that you are not among the gainers:
1. Create a plan for eating and exercise.   Plan exercise for the morning and you are more likely to succeed.   If you miss the gym, a 10 minute walk after a meal can get you away from the table and help you burn a few of those calories. 
2. Eat breakfast and do not skip meals.  You will be less likely to overeat.
3. Be aware and plan for your weaknesses.  For example if it is the cheese plate, make sure you are not starving when you arrive, stay at a distance or create a buffer zone to make it hard to reach.
4. Eat the healthiest food first.  A broth based (not cream) soup can help fill you up.
5. Plan non-food activities.  Instead of the cookie exchange, try an ornament exchange. Go caroling or play games instead of dessert.  Go for a group walk to check out the local decorations.
6. Bring your own healthy dish to a gathering.
7. Brush your teeth or pop a mint into your mouth as soon as you are no longer hungry. 
8. If you are cooking, prepare lighter versions of holiday favorites: Substitute reduced fat versions for dairy, use applesauce instead of oil in baking, add additional vegetables to casseroles, refrigerate the gravy to harden fat, and then skim the fat off.
9. Watch the liquid calories.  Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks can have hundreds of calories.   Eggnog is one of the worst offenders, juice and smoothies can pack on the pounds. Coffee drinks should be labeled dessert. Alcohol will also lower your resistance, making it easier to overeat.
Be realistic.  Do not expect to lose weight, but allow yourself to enjoy the holidays sensibly.

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