Tips for Staying Healthy During the Yuletide Season

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Five Healthy Eating Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain | SBM - Society  of Behavioral Medicine
Holiday weight gain – Photo credit: SBM – Society of Behavioral Medicine

As the holiday season approaches, many of us start to worry about gaining weight. We overeat at holiday parties, indulge in rich foods and sweets, and drink more alcohol than usual. And, all of this can lead to weight gain.

Putting on a few extra pounds during the holiday season is common, but it doesn’t have to be inevitable. With a little planning and some simple lifestyle changes, you can avoid holiday weight gain and stay on track with your health goals.

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that weight gain happens gradually over the course of the season. The researchers believe that weight gain is due to the increased consumption of calories during the holidays.

The study’s Lead Author, Dr Elissa Epel, says that holiday weight gain is a cause for concern.  The problem is that this one pound tends to stay on, and then the next year, people gain another pound, and so on, she said. It’s part of a slow, gradual weight creep that happens over the years.

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So how can you avoid holiday weight gain?

Medical expert Dr Leslie Cho, Director of Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic and a medical expert on the Dr Oz Show provides some advice on how to avoid holiday weight gain.

Here are some of the tips below:

1. Don’t Starve Yourself
Depriving yourself of food will only make you more likely to overeat when you do finally indulge. Instead of skipping meals, eat smaller portions throughout the day so you’re not as ravenous come holiday feast time. This will help you avoid overeating and help keep your weight in check.

In addition to watching your portion sizes, it is also important to choose healthier holiday season foods. There are often plenty of healthier options available, such as fruits and vegetables. By filling up on these healthier choices, you’ll be less likely to indulge in the less healthy foods.

2. Be mindful of what you eat
When you do sit down to enjoy a holiday meal, take the time to savor each bite, says Dr Cho.  Savor the flavours and textures of the food, and pay attention to when you start to feel full. Eating mindfully will help you enjoy your food more and prevent you from overeating.

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If you are worried about overeating at holiday parties, Cho recommends eating a light snack before you go. That way, you won’t be as tempted to indulge in high-calorie foods.

3. Avoid processed foods

Processed foods are often loaded with sugar, fat, and calories. Indulging in these foods can quickly add up, leading to weight gain. When possible, opt for whole, unprocessed foods. This includes fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains.

According to Cho, Director of Preventative Cardiology and Wellness at the Cleveland Clinic, the average person gains 1-2 pounds during the holiday season. With all of the temptations around, it can be hard to resist indulging in our favourite holiday foods.

4. Don’t drink your calories

People don’t realise how many calories they’re consuming when they drink these high-calorie beverages, Cho said. A single serving of eggnog can have over 500 calories and when you factor in multiple servings or add alcohol, the calorie count goes up quickly.

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Holiday weight gain is a common problem, and one that can be avoided by making smart choices about what you drink. If you’re watching your weight, stick to calorie-free drinks like water or unsweetened tea. And if you do indulge in a festive beverage, make sure to balance it out with healthy food choices and plenty of physical activity.

5. Get moving

Exercise is always important, but it’s especially crucial during the holidays when you’re more likely to be sedentary. Make time for a 30-minute walk every day, and try to get in some other form of activity as well. Exercise will help to boost your metabolism and burn calories, making it easier to avoid weight gain.

By following these tips, you can avoid holiday weight gain and stay on track with your health goals. With a little planning and some simple lifestyle changes, you can enjoy the holidays without putting on extra weight.

 

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