November, 2010 – Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain


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Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

By Heather Loguidice, ARNP


The holiday season is here and along with it usually comes a few extra pounds. All of the cookies, candies, and calorie rich holiday parties can quickly wreck a healthy diet.  With less time to exercise and more stress, it can be difficult to escape gaining those extra holiday pounds. Research has shown that most Americans never 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.  Here are a few tips that can help you avoid putting on weight this holiday season.


Plan Ahead

It is important to have a schedule and stick with it.  Make time to exercise.  You can increase your walking by parking farther away from your destination, taking the stairs, and walking a little brisker around the mall while you shop.  Try not to procrastinate and stick to your schedule so you will be less stressed.  Also, keep fast, easy healthy meals stocked in the refrigerator.  Keep diet frozen dinners, pre-packaged salads, fruits/vegetables, and lean deli meats in the refrigerator for hectic days to avoid ordering takeout.


Eat Dinner Before Going to a Party

Try eating a healthy dinner before going to holiday parties.  You will be less tempted to overeat the high fat, high calorie foods commonly found at parties.  Allow yourself small portions of the foods you really enjoy rather than eating a little bit of everything. Don’t skip meals as a way of saving calories.  This only leads you to over-eat later.  Don’t stand next to the buffet table at a party.  Being farther away from the food typically means you will eat less of it.  Eat slowly and truly enjoy those holiday foods.  It takes about 20 minutes from the time you eat until your body knows it is full.


Avoid Alcohol

Alcoholic drinks can easily add several hundred calories and push you over your calorie limit.  Furthermore, being under the influence of alcohol can make it more difficult to make smart food choices.  If you choose to have an alcoholic beverage, go for a glass of red wine or a low calorie beer.  Avoid sugary cocktails and the calorie laden egg nog.


Get Enough Sleep

Research has shown there may be a connection between getting too little sleep and gaining weight.  Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night.  We also tend to overeat and go for high sugar, high fat foods when we feel tired.


If despite all of your hard work you gain a pound or two over the holidays, don’t stress about it.  Simply get back to the habits that have helped you lose weight in the past.  Remember, portion control is the key.  You have to use more calories than what you take in.  Follow that rule and have a happy, healthy holiday season.


If you have questions, please call us at Family Medical and Wellness Center- (561) 721-1953.


Heather Loguidice, ARNP, works closely with doctors Glover and Vizcaino and is certified in Family Practice. Her experience spans 14 years and she has worked in Fast-Track ER’s and a few large Family Practice offices. Her interests include Women’s Health and Pediatrics and she has a wide range of experience in all Family Practice related matters. Heather is a big Gator’s fan; she lives in Boynton Beach and enjoys spending her free time with her daughter.