Thursday, December 4, 2008

Eating Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Food is an important part of many holidays, celebrations, family and cultural traditions.In fact, special occasions often center around food. As a result, many people gain a little (or a lot of) weight between Thanksgiving and the New Year.

What’s to blame? Perhaps it’s all the tempting treats available during the holiday season or the pressure from family, friends, and co-workers to overeat. Maybe it’s the increased emotional eating (whether it be from holiday stress or holiday joy) or the extreme laxity with eating and physical activity regimens in anticipation for the strict “new diet and exercise plan” you’re going to start January 1st.

Regardless of the reasons, it is not necessary to avoid holiday festivities in an attempt to maintain your weight. Consider these 10 tips for fully enjoying the holiday season without gaining weight!

1. Focus on weight maintenance vs. weight loss during the holidays. If you are currently overweight and want to lose weight, this is not the time to do it. Maintenance of your present weight is a big enough challenge during the holiday season. Don’t set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.

2. Plan on NOT dieting after the New Year. Anticipation of food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating over the holidays (“after all, if I’m never going let myself eat this again after Jan. 1st, I might as well eat as much as possible now!”) Besides, restrictive diets don’t work in the long run. They increase your loss of lean body mass vs. fat, slow down your metabolism, increase anxiety, depression, food preoccupation, and binge eating, and make weight re-gain more likely.

3. Be physically active every day. Often, students’ busy holiday schedules (or lack of structured schedules) bump them off their exercise routines. Physical activity, especially aerobic activities (like brisk walking, jogging, bicycling, roller blading, and swimming) can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn up extra calories from holiday eating.

4. Eat a light snack before going to holiday parties. It is not a good idea to arrive at a party famished. Not only are you more likely to overeat, but you are also less likely to resist the temptation of eating the higher fat and higher calorie foods. Try eating a piece of fruit, a small carton of yogurt, or a string cheese before you go.

This is just the first 4 of 10 great tips, for the complete article click the picture or title above.

Happy holidays,


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