Holiday Helpings to Minimize Weight Gain
The holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with friends and family, but filling the calendar with back-to-back social events can wreak havoc on the waistline. "It's not unusual for adults to gain up to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's," says Stacy Colich, RD, LD, CDE, clinical dietitian and diabetes educator at St. Luke's. "It's the one time of year when we give ourselves permission to eat more, exercise less and avoid the scale." The good news is that it's possible to enjoy the holidays without suffering unwanted consequences.
Weight gain is usually the result of taking in more calories than your body needs, which makes daily exercise even more important during this period of food-centered gatherings. Making time for regular exercise doesn't have to mean sacrificing sleep or joining a gym. "Little things like taking the stairs, parking at the far end of the parking lot, doing jumping jacks or taking the dog for an extra walk really add up-and not in pounds," says Colich.
The same applies to the way we eat. According to Paula Bursch, RD, LD, clinical dietitian and diabetes educator at St. Luke's, "Skipping meals in anticipation of a big feast or to compensate for overeating can work against you by causing the metabolism to slow down, store fat and lead to snacking later in the day. Eating at regular intervals can actually increase weight loss-as long as you make healthy choices."
Tips for avoiding the weight gain blues:
- Weigh yourself weekly.
- Find an exercise or weight control buddy.
- Don't skip meals.
- Make exercise part of your day.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Distance yourself from the buffet.
- Be a picky eater and pass on the junk food.
- Practice saying, "No, thank you."
For information about weight management and weight loss options, visit St. Luke's Weight Loss Essentials.