It’s that time of the year when extra calories lurk around us … such as the ones from homemade holiday goodies, candies and holiday drinks. All these add up to extra pounds throughout the holiday season.
So what’s the harm, right? Well, the National Institute of Health states most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the holiday season. These extra pounds add up year after year, making this weight gain a primary factor in adult obesity.
Portion control is key. Eating what you like is important – however it is how much you eat that is the culprit in holiday weight gain.
Here are some tips to help you avoid overindulging on those holiday goodies:
• Never arrive hungry – try to have a nutritious snack beforehand. If you do arrive hungry, drink water to fill up before filling your plate.
• Pace yourself – chew slowly as it fills you up faster with less food.
• Count your appetizers – set a number and stick to it.
• Outsmart the buffet – use the smallest plate, don’t stack your food and limit yourself to single servings.
• Limit alcohol – as we all know, alcohol impairs judgment and can hinder how much control you have over what you eat.
• Choose sweets wisely – what about sampling those holiday desserts? Take a small portion of a single dessert, rather than piling your plate with several desserts you plan to “try.”
• Limit “tastes” – if you like to cook during the holidays, skip out on all the taste-testing during the process. People tend to lose their appetite when they’ve been cooking because they tend to “taste” the whole time. For those family favorite recipes, dare yourself not to taste at all until the dish is served.
And lastly, walk it off. Incorporate a family walk after that big holiday meal. That will get everyone away from the food for a while and off the couch. On average, for someone who weighs about 160 pounds, they will burn about 85 calories in a one-mile walk. There is something about activity that puts us in control.
Enjoy the holidays and keep these tips in mind.
Pam Meyer is the wellness director at Benedictine Living Community,
St. Catherine’s Health in Wahpeton