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How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Renee Eder on Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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With Thanksgiving being this week and Chanukah following shortly after, it's that time of year when extra calories lurk around every corner. What happens when co-workers bake cookies and bring them to the office, your neighbor invites you over for eggnog, or you find yourself snacking on the Chanukah gelt (chocolate coins) you bought for playing dreidel (a spinning top)? All these extras add up, and if you're like most Americans, you'll put on a pound or two by New Year's Day. 

So what's the harm in a little holiday weight gain, especially if it's just a pound? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), most Americans don’t lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity. 

But you don't have to fall into this trap. It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without putting on a single pound. Below are tips to help you avoid overindulging (from WebMD): 

1. Never arrive hungry: Don't go to a party when you're starving. Try to have a nutritious snack beforehand. If you do arrive hungry, drink some water to fill up before filling your plate. 

2. There's more to a holiday party than food: Don't look at a holiday party as just a food event. Enjoy your friends' company, and take your mind off of food and focus on the conversation. 

3. Pace yourself: Putting your fork down between every bite gives you more control and enables you to pace yourself when you are eating. 

4. Outsmart the buffet: When dinner is served buffet-style, use the smallest plate available and don't stack your food. Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables and watch out for sauces, dressings, and dips. 

6. Limit alcohol:  Avoid drinking too much alcohol at holiday parties. It's not just about calories but about control. Remember, if you drink a lot, you won't have as much control over what you eat.

7. Be choosy about sweets: When it comes to dessert, limit your indulgences to small portions and only on the things you truly love (like chocolate, for instance!) If you know you're the type who can't stop at one bite, you're better off taking a small portion of a single dessert than piling your plate with several treats you plan to "try." 

8. Bring your own treats: Whether you're going to a friend's party or an office potluck, consider bringing a low-calorie treat that you know you'll enjoy. Bringing your own dessert will make the more fattening alternatives less tempting. 

9. Limit 'tastes' while cooking: If you do a lot of cooking during the holidays, crack down on all those "tastes."  Instead of tasting mindlessly every few minutes, limit yourself to two small bites of each item pre- and post-seasoning. 

Walk It Off 

Come to the J and walk off the calories. Walking not only benefits you physically but also puts you in a mindset to be more careful about what you eat. There's something about activity that puts you in control!  

P.S. If you haven't been a member of the J in 2015, you can take advantage of our RED HOT BLACK FRIDAY SPECIAL (only on Friday, November 27). Waive the registration fee and take 50% off. Call 703.323.0880 for details! 

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