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Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The average person gains 1-2 pounds over the holidays, while the overweight person gains closer to 5-10 pounds. So if you are watching your weight this holiday season, try to follow some (or all) of the tips below to prevent January scale shock!

Never go out famished. Try to eat a snack containing protein and fiber before you leave the house. If you are planning on drinking alcohol, you might want to include a little fat too (nuts, string cheese) to slow the absorption of alcohol. Some of my favorite combinations are apple/string cheese or 100 calorie pack almonds, turkey slices in low-carb tortilla with a little hummus or mustard, and of course, Dr. Melina protein bars (I usually eat ½ before I go out and save ½ for a late-night treat).

Bring healthy options. If you are attending a party, ask if you can bring a vegetable tray with low-fat dip or a healthy appetizer such as shrimp cocktail or melon wrapped in prosciutto. Or, if you really want to plan ahead, bring low-fat cookies or brownies, or even a beautiful fruit plate with vanilla yogurt dip or fat-free cool whipeven people who aren't watching their weight will enjoy these types of treats!

Get rid of leftovers. If you are hosting the party, send guests home with a goodie bagor storage container (Glad makes cheap storage containers that you can give away)filled with less healthy entrées and sweets that you served so you don't have to face the leftovers for the next 3-4 days. If you want to be extra festive, decorate the Tupperware beforehand with holidays stickers so it's like a gift too!

Use the 2/3 plate strategy. Fill 2/3 plate with healthier options like lean protein and veggies and the remaining 1/3 with indulgences that you will really enjoy and don't get to have very often (stuffed mushrooms, potatoes au gratin, Christmas cookies, etc.). And don't waste ANY calories on chips, bread, nuts, cheese and crackers, or any other food that you can eat any day of the year.

Don't drink your calories. Limit the eggnog (300 calories) and ciders (150-200 calories per cup) and try to stick with sugar-free beverage options or a glass of wine. If you do drink, alternate each sugary or alcoholic beverage with a glass of sparkling water. And make trade-offs: 2 drinks = no dessert, 1 drink = ½ dessert. You should employ this strategy year round, but the festive nature of the holidays and numerous social occasions seem to involve more drinking.

Exercise any time you can. I mean it. Five minutes of calisthenics in the morning. A 10-minute walk at lunch. Leg lifts in the checkout line. Dancing around the living room after dinner. Taking the stairs at the mall. Anything you can do to burn a few more calories WILL add up in the long run and may help keep you sane over the holidays too!

In good health,

Dr. Melina

About Dr. Melina Jampolis
Dr. Melina Jampolis is a board certified internist and physician nutrition specialist (one of only approximately 200 in the country). She is a graduate of Tufts University as well as Tufts School of Medicine and specializes exclusively in nutrition for weight loss and disease prevention and treatment.

 


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