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Healthy Holidays

November 18, 2010 - Mary Ann Heath
Deck the halls with chocolate peanut butter balls, pumpkin pie and sugar cookies. Fat la la la la, la la la la.

The season of overstuffing — of sugar, and chocolate and butter-smeared carbohydrates — is upon us. We kick it off by wandering around to our neighbor’s houses, begging for a fistful of bite-size goodies, and carry it out for two more months by baking ourselves into oblivion.

If you are wondering how those extra pounds have creeped on over the years, here’s the ugly truth: holiday binges.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show that most adults pack on 1 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. What’s worse — they don’t lose it once the holiday season passes.

Even if you only gain a pound or two over the holidays, it adds up over the years. Sure, you looked good at 20, but if statistics are correct, at 40, you’ll be carrying around at least 20 more pounds.

More than 50 percent of all Americans are overweight, so staving off those few extra pounds during the holidays is a BIG deal. According to researchers, there are a few key ways to avoid holiday weight gain.

The first, no surprise, is staying active. Go Christmas caroling. Walk around your neighborhood and check out the festive decor. Go Christmas shopping — but not on your computer. Ice skating or sledding with friends and family are other ways to stay active during the holiday season.

Secondly, experts say don’t let yourself become too hungry. When you’re hungry, you become more vulnerable to overeating. What do you do about all those holiday parties?

A recent article published on WebMD outlined the following ten tips in order to avoid holiday weight gain:

1. Never arrive hungry: Eat a nutritious snack before going to a holiday party.

2. Divert your attention: Don’t look at a holiday party as just a food event.

3. Pace yourself: Don’t try to cram all the eating into one half-hour, rather munch at a leisurely pace.

4. Count your canapés: Keep track of how many appetizers you consume. Try stashing the toothpicks in your pocket to keep track.

5. Outsmart the Buffet: Use a smaller plate, and don’t stack your food.

6. Limit alcohol

7. Be choosy about sweets

8. Bring your own treats

9. Limit “tastes” while cooking: If you do a lot of cooking during the holidays, limit how many times you sample it.

10. Walk it off


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