Holiday survival guidePosted: December 29, 2008 in Healthy Eating by Craig Primack MD FACP
Here’s some tips to get through the holidays and still maintain your weight. Don’t be average, since the average person gains 5-7 pounds between Halloween and New Years:
- Huge holiday meals and buffets can sabotage diets because it is difficult to resist the tempting array of treats.
TIP: Eat a salad or fruit and drink at least 16 ounces of water before the event. We call this “pre-loading.” If you go to a holiday event hungry, you will probably eat more and make poorer food choices.
- Limit alcohol. You need to run 1.5 to 3 miles to burn off just one alcoholic beverage. Drinking also lowers your inhibitions, so you will probably eat more than usual.
TIP: Alternating each alcoholic beverage with diet soda or water will cut your intake in half. Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime to the water makes it more palatable for some people.
- People who eat rapidly can consume 30 percent more food than those who eat slowly, without realizing they are full and satisfied. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to feel satisfied after eating, and eating slowly gives your body time to react.
TIP: Take your time chewing and set down your fork between bites. Eat on a smaller plate, such as a salad or dessert plate. You can fill up the plate while practicing appropriate portion sizes.
- Many people load up their plates at holiday meals without carefully thinking about their food choices. People typically eat more at buffets because a vast selection of food is readily available. With unlimited trips to the buffet, it can be very difficult for most people to limit their food intake.
TIP: Don’t waste calories on food you don’t really want to eat. If a food item doesn’t taste great, put it down. Peruse the buffet carefully and select healthy items and only those you really want. It isn’t necessary to try everything. Limit yourself to one trip.
- Your body has difficulty differentiating hunger from thirst, so you may eat food when you really need to drink water.
TIP: Drink 64 ounces of water every day. It’s calorie free and helps suppress the appetite.
- Drinking one 16-oz. soda daily will result in 20 pounds of weight gain annually.
TIP: Eliminate sugary drinks and juices. Instead, drink water and other non-caloric beverages.
- Pre-planning can make the difference between maintaining your weight and packing on the average of six pounds of holiday happiness. With a little forethought, you can dodge temptation and hit the New Year without gaining any extra weight.
TIP: Know the menu and plan what you are going to eat. Go online or call the event location to inquire about the menu. Conference venues will usually disclose their menus over the phone.
- Did you know that 75 percent of people who are struggling to lose and maintain their weight choose walking as their form of exercise? It is free, and there is no equipment required. Walking for as little as 15 minutes daily will help you get into the groove, and then it becomes easier to add a few minutes each week. When you see how fun and easy it is, you will stay motivated.
- The New Year is approaching quickly. Start your New Year’s resolution to lose weight and exercise today.