Avoid the holiday spread

By Mary Liz Wright maryliz@illinois.edu
Posted 12/9/19

The old adage that a five-pound weight gain is inevitable during the holiday season is a myth.

According to the National Institute of Health, the average American gains just under one pound during …

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Avoid the holiday spread

Posted

The old adage that a five-pound weight gain is inevitable during the holiday season is a myth.

According to the National Institute of Health, the average American gains just under one pound during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s the good news. The bad news is that most of us never lose that new pound and those already in the overweight category are more likely to gain five or more pounds during the holiday season.

The question we all need to ask is what causes the weight gain. The never-ending parade of goodies brought by well-intentioned co-workers and the lack of sleep from too many late night parties or time spent putting the some-assembly-required gifts together contribute to the problem. The biggest culprit is the tendency for us to avoid the gym when we need it the most. Our hectic holiday schedule can wreak havoc on the most well intentioned exerciser.

Fortunately, there are some tips that all can follow to help avoid holiday weight gain

Here are the top 10 tips:

Drink plenty of water: it is filling and keeps one hydrated and energized.

Eat smaller meals on days of holiday gatherings.

Send leftovers home with guests, or better yet avoid leftovers altogether by preparing only what guests will eat at one sitting.

Eat breakfast everyday—maintain energy levels and avoid temptation by keeping the metabolism revved up.

Eat a small snack containing protein before the party, which helps avoid the urge to overeat at the buffet table by arriving hungry at the party.

Try to cut 100 calories from each festive meal by skipping the bread and butter and only choose a small serving of the higher calorie selections.

Be conscious of the “Oh well..” trap—do not overeat because one already had a cookie at work or because a diet is planned after the holidays in order to eat it all now.

Be careful of alcohol consumption-even one drink can lower personal resistance to tempting foods.

Find the time to exercise—don’t skip workouts and make it a goal to add 15 minutes on those days when indulging in holiday goodies is a given.

Grant a personal break by having a cookie, just don’t eat a dozen.

Here are some helpful hints when baking for the holidays as another way get around weight gain:

Reduce fat: For every tablespoon of solid fat use ¾ tablespoon liquid oil and replace half of the fat in a recipe with either unsweetened applesauce, prune puree or plain lowfat yogurt.

Reduce sugar by one-quarter to one-third of what the recipe calls for or use a use a heat-stable sugar substitute

Increase whole grain by replacing one-third of the flour in a recipe with a whole grain flour.

Replace salt with herbs or spices

In all things for quality of life, be smart, eat well, get healthy.