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Ten Tips To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Bathroom scale
(flickr.com user puuikibeach)

New research suggests that people gain an average of one pound from Halloween to New Years Day.  That doesn’t sound bad.  The problem is that we don’t tend to lose that pound.  Do that for 20 years and suddenly you’re over weight.  I’m not normally one to worry about it.  I believe that holidays are meant to be celebrated.  But…if you do want to avoid the excess holiday weight, here are ten tips to help you from Kari Kooi, a registered dietician from The Methodist Hospital in Houston.

1. Wear something fitted.
The tighter fit will remind you not to eat to the point of discomfort. Wear something that makes you feel attractive, that will give you a sense of empowerment.

2. Eat breakfast.
Eating a substantial breakfast can keep you from overeating later on in the day and it revs up your metabolism. Include a protein-rich food item such as low-fat Greek yogurt or natural peanut butter spread on whole-wheat toast.

3. Avoid mindless munching.
Don’t arrive to a holiday event hungry or you won’t stand a chance at saying no to snacks. Have a light, protein-rich snack such as a small handful of almonds with a piece of fruit before going to a holiday event. Spend more time with the other guests and less time grazing at the buffet table.

4. Rethink your drink.
Liquid calories can quickly lead to weight gain and still leave you hungry when consumed in excess. Plus, sugary holiday drinks like cocoa, eggnog and apple cider can cause blood sugar swings that leave you feeling even hungrier. Try hot spiced teas instead.

5. Limit alcohol.
This one may be the toughest but with alcohol, moderation is the key.  Alcohol consumption in excess can quickly lead to overeating. What’s more, many creamy holiday drinks can easily pack 500 calories. Cut calories with a wine spritzer made from wine and sparkling water.

6. Keep exercise a priority.
Don’t stop your gym routine now. Make time to hit the gym or the basement treadmill so you can reap the stress-busting and calorie-burning benefits that will empower you to stay the course. Set a goal of just 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day. In addition, be sure to get in two strength-training sessions a week to tighten and tone.

7. Get plenty of sleep.
Less than six hours of sleep a night causes cravings for starchy, sugary foods (hello frosted Santa-shaped cookies) and dissolves your resolve to make healthy food decisions. Most health experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep a night to feel fully rested.

8. Enlist the support of a friend or family member.
Apart from socializing, getting together with a friend to walk and talk will burn calories, relieve stress and help with accountability. Having an accountability partner can empower you to be more successful than you would be on your own.

9. Awareness is power.
There is a whole lot of food around you at holiday parties and get togethers. Don’t deprive yourself, but do splurge selectively and practice mindfulness by being aware of what you are eating, the portion size and why you are eating. Keep portions in check by sticking with a sliver of dessert or just a couple of rich hors d’oeuvres. Keeping a food journal is the best way to raise awareness of food intake.

10. Free yourself of guilt.
Feeling guilty for indulging often leads to a downward spiral. Instead, channel those emotions in a more positive way by going for a brisk walk. Start fresh the next morning by recharging your motivation with a positive self-talk. Gain perspective and realize that a day of overeating doesn’t have to sabotage your best laid plans

[Newswise]

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