Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Weight Management

Happy Thanksgiving friends! We hope you will get to spend time enjoying the holiday with family and friends. This is the time of year when we begin bracing ourselves for cold weather, crowds and holiday weight gain.  It is a common belief among Americans that holiday parties and feasting can result in a weight gain of 5lbs or more. 

In a prospective study of holiday weight gain featured in the New England Journal of Medicine the data showed that average holiday weight gain is less than most expect.  Weight gain observed during the holiday period was 1-3 lbs.  What is alarming is that most people don't lose that weight throughout the year leading to an increase in weight over many years.  One to three extra pounds may not seem like much but after 10 years we're looking at an additional 10 to 30 lbs, no thank you!  Here are a few tips for weight management during the holiday season.

  • Plan holiday meals at normal meal times instead of adding an extra meal or skipping a meal and arriving to the table ravenous.
  • Choose smart sancks to maintain blood glucose and energy levels.
  • Listen to hunger and fullness cues and remember it can take up to 20 minutes for our stomach to let our brain know we've hit our comfortable limit.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if partaking in adult beverages.
  • Include physical activity in your holiday plans like ice skating or a game of flag football with the family.
  • Look for healhy modifications for traditional holiday foods, try steaming green beans instead of sauteeing in butter or incorporate fruit in baking instead of relying on added sugar for sweetness.
  • Don't feel compelled to eat everything offered, hosts will understand and in another year all of these foods will be available again.
  • Be mindful of portion sizes and don't force yourself to "clean your plate".
  • Enjoy the non-food related aspects of the holidays like socializing, music and gift-giving.
Be safe and enjoy!

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