By Jessie Funchion, MS, RD, LDN

 

Pop quiz. . the average American gains how much weight during the holidays?

a) 1-2lbs

b) 3-5lbs

c) 5-8lbs

d) None

(scroll down for answer)

 

 

 

 

 

 

a) 1-2lbs. Most studies estimate that adults gain 1-2lbs, on average, between Thanksgiving and New Years. Not THAT bad, right? Well, if these couple pounds don’t come off every year, we’re looking at a 10-20lb weight gain each decade.

Instead of waiting until January to start your resolution of weight loss, why not go into the holidays with a goal of weight maintenance? If you maintain your weight through New Years, you’re at least 1-2lbs ahead of the curve. Here are some ways to avoid unnecessary weight gain this time of year.

 

1) Plan Ahead

o Before the party, think about…Situations that may trigger you to eat? How will you limit your exposure to food? Are there gatherings/parties you do not mind skipping?

2) Eat Before the Party

o Never arrive hungry to a gathering

o Saving up calories always backfires, it also gives you “permission” to overeat

o Keep choices healthy throughout the day

3) Control your Food Environment

o Your proximity to food can impact how much you eat

o Sit next to someone you feel eats healthfully and slowly

4) Bring Your Own Dish or Dessert

o Bring 1-2 healthy dishes you know you can eat

5) Practice Portion Control

o Use an appetizer plate or fill your plate only ½ or ¾ full

o Choose mostly protein, vegetables and 1 “fun” dish (eat this last)

6) Eat Mindfully

o Make your meal last at least 20 minutes and savor your food

o Put your fork down between bites. Make sure you’re sitting.

7) Stay Busy

o Volunteer to help clean up as soon as you are done

o Get started on another activity – gifts, games, dancing!

8) Splurge Strategically

o Splurge wisely at the end of your meal. You’re most likely no longer hungry, this is just to “get a taste”

o Tiny-size your sweet treat. Each bite is about 100 calories!

9) Practice saying “No, thank you”.

10) Stay positive and keep things in perspective.

o Even the most disciplined eaters deviate from their eating plan on occasion, don’t beat yourself up

o Get back on track right away (at the next meal)

Remember – weight maintenance during the holidays should be considered a success!

 

Sources & Resources

http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/lifestyle/holidays/a-healthy-approach-to-holiday-eating

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMc1602012

https://www.self.com/story/13-holiday-healthy-eating-tips-from-a-registered-dietitian

http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/1116p22.shtml

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