Best Method for Managing Holiday Weight Gain…

holiday-weight-gainThanksgiving kicks off the weight gaining season. The statistic that is shared most often  is ”the average American will gain 5-7# during the time between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve”. This is likely over exaggerated as National Institute of Health (NIH) provided evidence that most of us gain only about 1# or less during the holiday season. However the bad news is this weight gained over the holidays isn’t lost during the rest of the year.

Most weight issues are not do to rapid weight gains but a pound here or there, that is hardly noticed.  A pound gained each year in the big scheme of things does not appear to be an issue. But 20 years from now, and 20 pounds of weight gain could mean a lot of bad health outcomes for anyone later in life. The best method for managing holiday weight gain is to not gain the weight in the first place.

We have all seen the list of holiday weight loss tricks and diet versions of our favorite holiday recipes, (that never seems as satisfying as the real thing). I use to share them with my clients like every other health care provider out there, and one year I stopped to think “is this really helping them, would I ever do this?” My answer was no!

Deprivation always seems to backfire in a big way, especially when it comes to social eating and holiday time. Working with my Wellness Groups through many holiday seasons, I have developed six strategies my clients have adapted that have shown them how to have their holiday dishes and stick with just one serving, and now it is your turn! Imagine on January 1, 2014, getting on that scale at the same weight, and heck who knows maybe a few pounds lighter!

family circus

My challenge for you during this holiday season is to pick one, two or maybe all 6 of my holiday challenges, to prevent that holiday weight gain. 

Holiday Challenge

Small Plate Challenge

Use a small plate: A simple change from a 12″ plate at dinner to 10″ plate could mean a 22% reduction in calories at a meal. Those 2 inches have enough impact on calories, yet are not drastic enough to trigger a response of feeling deprived. Grab the 8″ salad plates and put your whole meal on that. You will feel full and still have your favorite holiday foods.

Healthy start and then wait…

(1) When you first arrive at a party locate the vegetables and fruit in the room, fill a small plate and enjoy as you are first socializing.

(2) Once you complete your fruit and vegetables plate, wait about 30 minutes before you select any other food choices.

Rule of 3s

It is unrealistic to deprive yourself completely at parties but by creating  boundaries on the number of types of foods you are “allowed” to consume leads to less variety and hopefully less weight gain during the holiday season.

(1)  Using a small plate, take a reasonable portion of the 3 items you have selected, and only consume those three items.

(2) Once you are finished put it down your plate, grab yourself a low-calorie beverage and continue to enjoy your time at the party.

(3) If you feel you are still hungry, head back for some more fruits and vegetables, and remind yourself “you just had 3 foods that you really wanted and you enjoyed them!

Get Moving

Think of ways to incorporate exercise during your Holiday week/weekend. Give a few of these suggestions a try:

(1) Walk the track during the local high school football game

(2) Take a walk between dinner and dessert

(3) Start your day with at home yoga class/dvd

(4) Many organization and gyms are offering classes on actual Holidays

Alcohol Match…

Alcohol calories can add up quick… especially socializing when you are not paying attention and “peer pressure” to have another cocktail.

(1) For every drink you have, you must match with water/seltzer before you have/order another

(2) Set your drink limit prior to each party/social gathering

Holiday is over and so is the eating!

Eating “poorly” one day is not the reason you gain weight after a Holiday. It is the next day or two or maybe even seven days until every last bite of that Holiday Meal is gone. Enjoy the meal with your small plate, have all the things you have been looking forward to. The next morning after the holiday get right back to your usual routine and start the day off with a great breakfast like oatmeal and blueberries. Don’t let the holiday eating carry on.

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