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Maintain, Don't Gain Over the Holidays

'Tis the season to be jolly... but, that doesn't mean you want "a little round belly," that shakes when you laugh "like a bowl full of jelly."

Celebrate a healthier you this holiday season by taking charge of your health and weight. According to some articles, Americans gain one to five pounds over the holiday season; however, the average gain is actually closer to one pound. Yet, according the National Institutes of Health researchers, that one pound may never come off, and those pounds can add up over time.

Yes, it's important to make time to celebrate and enjoy the good company of friends and family at holiday parties and festivities. Just because you are trying to eat healthy doesn't mean you need to avoid holiday celebrations or fall prey to a few extra pounds. You can work healthy eating into the holidays by being calorie conscious and focusing on balance and moderation. Here are some tips to help keep the scales from creeping up on you:

  1. Be realistic. Trying to lose weight during the holidays may be self-defeating. Focus on weight maintenance.
  2. Calorie bank. Eat small, lower-calorie meals during the day so you can enjoy party foods without overdoing your calorie intake for the day.
  3. Never go to a party hungry. Eat a small, low-fat snack before you go. Feeling hungry can sabotage even the strongest of willpowers.
  4. Quench your thirst. Ask for sparkling water and a lime twist rather than wine, champagne or a drink. This can help save on those empty calories.
  5. Potluck. If you are bringing a dish, make it healthy, delicious and low calorie. This way you know you will have something with fewer calories to help fill up on.
  6. Forget the all-or-nothing mindset. Depriving yourself of special holiday foods will either make you crave them or feel guilty if you do eat them. (Not a healthy eating strategy).
  7. Get creative with substitutions. When you are entertaining, modify your recipes to create lower calorie, lower fat options. Chances are your guests won’t even notice.
  8. Give yourself time to exercise. Physical activity is a good way to burn calories before you go to a celebration and will help you feel less guilty when you are enjoying your favorites.
  9. Find support. Create a "Maintain, Don't Gain" team to help you stay strong throughout the holiday season. It's pretty simple to do. Simply schedule a weigh in before Thanksgiving and check in with one another each week to swap healthy eating tips and provide support. You could even schedule gym time or walks/runs with each other to help increase your activity over the holidays.

The CCMH Wellness Department wishes you well on your efforts to health and well-being this holiday season.