By Elizabeth Holmes
Clinical Nutritionist Educator, Mission Weight Management
The holiday season, with the parties, seasonal foods, desserts and time with loved ones, can be a difficult time of the year for healthy eating and weight management. Studies show that the average person will gain between 5 and 10 pounds during this period. Often those extra pounds can be challenging to get rid of and over time can add up to significant weight gain.
You may find yourself surrounded by trigger foods that are stimulating to you and hard to control portions. Here are a few tips to help you get through this holiday season without damaging your waistline:
Don’t Skip Meals
Meal skipping is the biggest mistake you can make. This slows your metabolic rate and increases your hunger before eating a large meal. Instead, have small, balanced meals and snacks leading up to the larger meal to better control your hunger. A balanced meal or snack consists of three important components: 1) protein—lean meat, low-fat dairy or eggs, 2) carbohydrates—vegetables, fruits or whole grain starches, and 3) healthy fats—seeds, avocados or 6-10 nuts.
Budget Your Calories
Just as we try to budget money during the holidays, budgeting your calories could keep you in the black and out of the red (danger zone) when it comes to weight gain. Think of calories like money, where you have a certain budget every day. Opt to have one Thanksgiving meal, ditch the leftovers and then get back on track. Don’t waste your calorie dollars on food just because it’s there.
Being consistent with exercise can help to avoid weight gain with increased food intake. Often, when families get together, emotions run a little higher than normal. Exercise has been shown to help reduce emotional eating and manage stress.
After you eat a larger meal, take a walk rather than lying on the couch in front of the television.
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