Freedom from the fruitcake: How to maintain your weight over the holidays
Studies show that the average American gains 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Believe it or not, it is possible to maintain your weight during the holidays and still have fun. Simply following a few rules will keep you from having regrets.
Rachel Brown, MD, offered nine tips to help you stay on track this holiday season:
- Do not skip meals. You can, however, alternate heavy and light meals to keep your appetite hormones level and happy.
- Practice portion control. Portion control is the key to keeping the decadence of the holidays at bay. Try it all – but try just a little.
- Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol. Choose your beverages wisely by avoiding sugary drinks and too many alcoholic beverages. Add extra ice when making your drink to take up no-calorie space. Also, remember to stay hydrated with water.
- Overcome cravings. Use your favorite holiday events and the feelings of love and joy they produce to help you get over your cravings. Holiday fun can distract you from eating when you are not hungry.
- Treat yourself. Enjoy some seasonal goodies like pumpkin pie or fruitcake, but try to resist food that is available any time of the year such as brownies.
- Eat slowly. It takes a full 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s full. By eating fast, you could overeat before you have time to realize you are full.
- Eat before you go. Always eat a little before you enjoy a holiday meal so you aren’t hungry when you arrive and overeat.
- Reduce your caffeine intake. Caffeine can cause irritability, nervousness and anxiety. Enjoy coffee, tea and sodas in moderation.
- Get moving. Exercise will increase your sense of wellness. A 20–30 minute walk every day can provide numerous benefits.
“We can all enjoy the holiday season more if we remember to take care of ourselves,” Dr. Brown said. “It is important to make sure you have fun while not making choices you will regret come January.”
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