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How to Enjoy the Holidays without the Holiday Weight Gain

Hospital news | Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The holiday season has begun! This season is filled with parties, visiting with loved ones, and lots and lots of food. Shelby Moose, Registered Dietitian with Crossing River Health, said, “On average, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the holiday season. While this weight gain isn't dramatic, research shows it tends to stick and accumulate over the years. With just a few strategies adapted from, you can avoid holiday weight gain while still enjoying friends, family and the holiday feast!”

  1. Don’t let Thanksgiving dinner be the start of a non-stop grazing feast that lasts for six whole weeks until the New Year! Resist the temptation to throw in the towel and have a holiday free for all. The all-or-nothing way of thinking should be avoided.
  2. Focus on maintaining your current weight during the holidays, even if you’re in the process of losing weight right now. Feeling deprived will ruin your holiday fun.
  3. Talk a walk! This is important on the day of a holiday gathering. Even a 10-minute brisk walk has great benefits. Also, if you feel you’ve eaten a large meal take a short walk to help your body digest your food.
  4. Eat breakfast that includes some fruit and/or vegetable on the morning of a holiday gathering.
  5. Eat before a holiday party. Having a snack will help you feel in control of your appetite once you arrive there and it will help you be more selective with your food choices.
  6. Socialize away from the buffet table. Once you have your food, move away from the table and sit down and enjoy!
  7. Eat like a food connoisseur. Really taste everything that you eat. Our taste buds are on our tongue, not in our stomach. Holiday meals can turn into an eating contest, who can finish their plate the fastest! Remember why you’re there in the first place, to be with family and enjoy their company- not to loosen your belt a notch.
  8. Don’t eat anything that you don’t want to eat. Just because your Great Aunt Mary made your favorite casserole for you does not mean you need to eat the whole thing.
  9. Alternate adult beverages with water. This has many benefits- it will dilute your calories from alcohol and it will help dehydration (dehydration is the main reason you don’t feel well after a night of holiday cheer.)
  10. Use a smaller plate to help prevent overeating. Also, start by filling your plate with vegetables and salad before going to the entrees and desserts. Research shows eating a salad before your meal can help you eat fewer calories overall. Eat slowly and savor every bite, and before you go back for seconds, wait 10 minutes to see if you really are still hungry.
  11. Lastly, loose the guilt! You just ate some cake. How does that make you feel: awful, or joyful? Feeling bad about yourself because you ate something indulgent doesn’t motivate you to try harder to shed excess weight or eat healthier. Instead, it weakens your willpower so you more easily give in to temptation. It's much more productive to view treats as celebratory and, by that token, not completely off-limits—even if you're trying to lose weight. So loose the guilt and make sure you eat your fruits and veggies at the next meal.

Shelby Moose added, “Individuals can find many health tips, assessments and quizzes on the website of Crossing Rivers Health- check it out at I also encourage individuals to give me a call at 608-357-2000 to learn about nutrition counseling or other services my colleagues and I at Crossing Rivers Health provide to area communities.”