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7 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

The average holiday weight gain of one pound may not seem like a lot, but it adds up over the years -- especially considering that most people tend to not lose the weight in the new year.

7 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
7 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
Dec. 9, 2010 - PRLog -- The average holiday weight gain of one pound may not seem like a lot, but it adds up over the years -- especially considering that most people tend to not lose the weight in the new year. "The holidays are particularly challenging if you're already overweight, as you tend to gain more weight, or if you tend to eat even when you're full and take advantage of any food opportunity that's presented," said Sari Greaves, registered dietitian and a national spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. To avoid the extra-caloric temptations lurking everywhere this time of year, it's best to have a strategy in mind. Here, some tips to keep a bowl full of jelly at bay.

Eat "good mood" foods. You know never to arrive at a party hungry, but what should you eat beforehand? Try snacking on lean proteins and high-quality carbohydrates, such as low-calorie string cheese and a piece of fruit, Greaves said. Not only will you be less likely to gorge at the party, but you'll feel better too.

Keep your mouth busy while you cook. If you've got a habit of nibbling in the kitchen while prepping for a party, pop a piece of sugar-free gum so your mouth is occupied. Or call a friend and put her on speaker. This way, you're chatting instead of chewing.

Wear fitted clothes to holiday parties. Who hasn't donned a loose, flowing empire dress or baggy jeans in anticipation of a feast? Instead of giving yourself room to "grow," wear clothing that's more tapered at the waist. That way, when your clothes feel snug, you'll know that you've reached your limit.

Arrive fashionably late to parties. Chances are you'll miss cocktail hour -- which mean fewer hors d'oeuvres and alcoholic drinks.

Pace yourself and compensate for your "trouble" foods. If you have a weakness for sweets, for example, limit the canapés and load up on the crudités (sans dip) so that you can treat yourself to dessert later, Greaves said. Or if you love toasting the night away, alternate every cocktail with a mocktail -- just make sure that you're using low- or no-calorie soda or seltzer water for mixers.

Take a break from all the food. Schedule some activities that get you and your family moving. Go ice-skating or sledding, if the weather allows. Or round up the troops and go for an after-dinner walk.

Bottom line for your waistline: Be realistic. Have healthy expectations -- this isn't the time of year to start a diet, but you can still manage your eating and maintain your current weight. Take a critical look at your schedule over the next month: If you know you have two holiday parties over one weekend, be extra diligent about eating healthy during the week. This way, you can enjoy the holidays without the extra baggage.

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