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Healthy Holidays
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The holiday season may give you a gift you that you just don’t want: weight gain. Several new studies show that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Years is one pound—much less than the 5-10 pounds previously reported.1 The problem is, most adults don’t loose that one pound. And since the average adult weight gain is one to two pounds a year, much of what we call “mid-life weight gain” happens because of the holidays. The news is worse for those already overweight. They tend to gain the five or more pounds. And when you consider that it takes a week of diligent dietary and exercise habits to lose just one or two pounds, is it worth it?

It’s not hard for those extra pounds to sneak up on you. Not only are there those great holiday family meals, there’s the office party, the open houses, the baking for school events, and the dessert gifts from friends and neighbors. Before you know it, that sugar cookie and eggnog has turned into fat.

So is there a way to avoid this? Does something as wonderful as the holiday season need to have a lasting negative result? No, it doesn’t. With a little bit of planning and careful monitoring, it’s possible to weigh the same on January 2 as you did on Thanksgiving Day. Consider these helpful tips:
  • Focus on family and friends, not food
  • Let your “taste test” of a dish you’re preparing be just that—a “taste”
  • Don’t skip meals or snack while preparing
  • Have some fruits and vegetables available along with your traditional recipes
  • Treat holiday meals the same as any other meal during the year
  • Fill your plate once at meals—don’t consider seconds
  • Remember: there are leftovers. You don’t have to eat it all in one meal!
  • Send some leftovers home with guests to enjoy
  • Don’t go to an evening party hungry—be sure to eat dinner first
  • Keep up your regular exercise program
  • Get your sleep
  • Drink plenty of water
If you follow these tips and add your own, you won’t gain those excess pounds. And the only things you’ll take away from the holidays are the warm memories.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2008 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

1 http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/22/the-skinny-on-holiday-weight-gain/

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