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Holidays & Weight Management
How to Celebrate and Not Gain Weight
Are you concerned about gaining weight this holiday season? Many studies have shown that people gain several pounds over the holidays. According to the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Disorders, though, Americans usually gain only about a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, but the accumulation of this weight gain over the years may be a contributing cause of obesity later in life.
Whether you've just started a weight loss program, you're halfway to your goal weight, or you're trying to maintain, you may dread the holiday season for the culinary temptation it brings. Relax - you don't have to bow out of social occasions to stay on track. These tips can help you to celebrate and not gain weight this holiday season.
- Compensate for indulgence. Add an extra 10 minutes to your exercise routine if you know you'll be faced with gourmet snacks. Or eat a lighter breakfast or lunch to save up calories for dinner. Don't go to a party hungry, though, or you could set yourself up for a binge at the buffet table.
- If you're playing host or hostess, you'll have more control over the menu. Serve healthful, attractive foods, such as an artfully arranged fruit tray or low-fat hors d'oeuvres.
- If you are at a party with a huge buffet table filled with foods and desserts, stand on the other side of the room away from temptation.
- Drink water or juice spritzer instead of alcohol or high-fat drinks to save
calories. For example, an 8-ounce glass of eggnog with rum may contain 450 calories.
- Don't snack on foods you don't love - instead, save yourself for small portions of your favorite holiday treats that you don't get any other time of year.
- Keep tabs with a food journal. Even if you don't keep a food diary any other time of the year, doing so will help you remember to eat healthily and sensibly through the holiday season. Purchase a small notebook and keep it in your purse or pocket to help you monitor your holiday indulgences. At the end of the day, add up your calories to make sure you're staying within a reasonable range for weight maintenance.
- If you are bringing a food gift to a party, bring something healthy and low in calories so you know there will be something tasty to eat that won't sabotage your diet plan.
Sources: Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O'Neil PM, Sebring NG. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. New England Journal of Medicine March 23 2000;342(12):861-7; National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Disorders, http://www.niddk.nih.gov/