People gain an average of 1 to 2 pounds during the holidays. While this may not sound like much, most people don’t lose that weight after Christmas. Year after year, the pounds can easily add up and in 10 years, you are suddenly 20 pounds heavier. Preventing weight gain during the holidays doesn’t have to be hard. Follow these tips to stay healthy through this season of delicious dinners and desserts:
n Focus on maintaining your weight rather than losing. You don’t want to get discouraged if you don’t meet a weight loss goal and then give up entirely. Maintaining your weight through the holidays is easier to achieve.
n Be sure to move every day. An aerobic activity is going to burn more calories, but even going for a casual stroll after lunch or before dinner will help you burn a few extra calories. Think of other easy ways to walk a few more steps such as parking at the back of a parking lot, walking up the stairs rather than using the elevator, or walking to a bathroom that is farther away from your desk at work.
n Don’t use exercise as an excuse to eat more. It is OK to reward yourself for exercising more, just don’t use food as a motivator.
n Watch what you drink. Choose diet soda, crystal light, unsweetened tea, or water rather than sweetened beverages. Just one glass of sweet tea over ice contains 80 calories. Make that multiple glasses at a meal and multiple meals in a day and you could very easily add 300 calories to your day just from drinks.
n Put your non-starchy vegetables on your plate first. Non-starchy vegetables include green beans, collards, cabbage, salad greens, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, onions, peppers, rutabaga, and tomato. You will leave less room on your plate for the foods that are higher in calories.
n Eat your non-starchy vegetables first. Fill up more on these foods with fewer calories and you may be less likely to overeat.
n Limit your dessert to one a day. It’s difficult to resist all the holiday candy, cookies, and pie sitting around the house for a month. Put the desserts away from sight and treat yourself at only one meal.
n If you go to a party, grab a small appetizer plate to fill rather than a large dinner plate. You will be less likely to overeat.
n At a gathering, don’t socialize around the food table. Move to a place where no food is sitting. That way, you will be less likely to graze.
Caroline Knauss is from Laurinburg and is completing a dietetic internship at Southeastern Regional Medical Center as part of her coursework for a master’s degree in nutrition from East Carolina University.