The Wellness Corner … by Judith Wallace, RN, FCN
HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN PRECAUTIONS
The holidays are upon us, bringing with them an onslaught of tantalizing holiday treats. Many of these holiday goodies pose a direct challenge to the healthy eating plan that you have tried to adhere to for the last eleven months. During the covid19 pandemic many of us have been watching the scales inch up due to decreased activity and increased snacking. We may already be a few pounds over our "best" weight. Now, during the holidays the temptation to overeat is lurking at nearly every table you pass. It is commonly believed that the average American will gain five to seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. The problem with even minimal weight gain is that many people don't shed this excess weight after the holidays, and those extra pounds add up over time.
The holidays are not an ideal time to try to start a diet. Rather, your goal should be to maintain your weight during this time frame. If you should decide to indulge in cookies, fudge or some other decadent dessert, don't berate yourself. Simply cut back on calories elsewhere during the rest of the day or spend a few extra minutes on the treadmill during your workout routine. (Hopefully you have one).
There are ways that you can avoid packing on those holiday pounds. Before sitting down to your holiday dinner, keep these recommendations in mind: don't skip meals and assume that will make up for what you eat at the table. It actually can have the reverse effect - not only on your blood sugar, but also on your appetite. If you are ravenous at the big dinner you will surely overeat. The holiday table generally contains an amazing variety of foods that you may not see until next Thanksgiving or Christmas. Of course, you want to try them all. But keep your portions small. Make a choice between rolls and stuffing - choose one, not both. Decide in advance to limit your dessert to a half portion. These recommendations can help you regulate the amount you eat. An active 40-year-old man should consume about 2,200 calories IN AN ENTIRE DAY. The typical American consumes between 5,200 calories at Christmas dinner!
Finally, instead of collapsing on the sofa after that holiday meal, go for a 30-minute walk. Exercise should be a major part of your lifestyle throughout the year, and the holidays should be no different. The calorie packed meals and decadent desserts make regular activity even more important.
The holidays are a season of the celebration of faith, family and friends. While food is certainly a major component associated with the holidays, it is important to keep it from being the major focus. Concentrate instead on those you love and celebrate the simple joy of the season.
If you are trying to avoid gaining excess weight during the holidays, try these simple suggestions above. This could be the year that you don't have to make a New Year's resolution to drop those extra holiday pounds!
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