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Navigating the Holidays

The holiday season begins at Thanksgiving and carries on for six weeks through New Year. This is a time marked by countless parties, foods, and drinks. Studies show that the average American will gain one pound during this time. However, overweight individuals may gain five or more pounds. For those struggling with weight, the focus on food and eating during the holiday season can be tough.  Here are some tips to help you and your families celebrate this season while remaining healthy. 

Photo by svetikd/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by svetikd/iStock / Getty Images
  • Do not go to a party or event hungry.  Often people, fast all day prior to going to a party. This sets you up to eat more. Instead, eat healthy meals during the day to help avoid over eating. Then before heading out the door have a high protein snack, such as a cheese stick, greek yogurt, or hard boiled egg. 

  • Prioritize. Scan the entire room before making your plate selection. Ask yourself, which food items must I have, and which ones can I do without? 

  • Watch portion sizes.  Do not overload your plate, especially at a buffet.  Enjoy your favorite holiday foods, but take small amounts. Stick to one plate and use the rule of three.  Limit yourself to three bites of each dish and enjoy those three bites. By being mindful of your eating, you will find yourself satisfied with much less food. 

  • Put down the fork and talk. Keep the focus of parties on visiting with friends and family, and away from food. You will find yourself really making connections with those you love, and enjoying the holiday in a different way. 

  • Watch what you drink. Drinks can pack on the calories and fat. One cup of egg nog averages 350 calories. Stay away from mixed or cream-filled drinks. Instead, opt for diet soda, seltzer, or one glass of light beer or wine.  

  • Keep moving!  Exercising will help to burn off these extra calories and help you feel less stressed.  Aim to get 30-60 minutes daily of physical activity. Create a holiday tradition that involves getting the family moving, by taking a long walk or playing a game of football. 

Remember to enjoy the holiday season.  Think before you indulge and remember moderation is best.  As we embark on a New Year, make realistic goals to help you continue a healthy diet, exercise, and stress management.     

Kathleen Johnson