Ask the Doctor: Can Weight Gain During the Holidays be Avoided?
Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and holiday parties: The last few months of the year test even the most disciplined weight watcher. Despite our worst fears, the average American really puts on one pound during the holiday season – which doesn’t sound like much, unless you gain that extra pound year after year.
To better the chances of avoiding holiday weight gain and related pain in the wake of Christmas parties and New Year’s celebrations, indulge in these helpful tips:
- Never show up hungry to holiday parties. Whether attending holiday parties involving family, friends or co-workers, the number one cardinal sin is to show up hungry, which may cause you to overcompensate and stuff your face with delicious but unhealthy food. Rather, be sure to eat your normal three meals on the days of these big get-togethers. In fact, you may even want to have a healthy snack, such as fruit prior to leaving the party.
- Avoid extra calories, including too much alcohol. Avoiding foods that are high in calories is often a major goal of weight control. If you can, limit the alcohol or wine and drink plenty of water. Furthermore, try to fill up on healthy foods such as carrot sticks, celery, and other fruits, without having to use dips, which are often high in calories. Dr. Mehul Suthar, DO at Baptist Health Richmond notes, “It’s hard to resist the temptation of Halloween chocolates, Thanksgiving dinner with all the sides, and the sweets that are passed around throughout the holidays.” By filling up on healthy fruit and vegetable appetizers, you will be better prepared for a moderate meal at your holiday party rather than an all-you-can-eat (and drink) buffet. “Keeping regular healthy meals and exercise is essential even through the holidays. Enjoy the food but avoid overindulging.”
- Exercise daily rather than waiting for January 1. Many people are resigned to the “fact” that they are going to gain weight during the holidays and that there’s nothing they can do in the meantime. Don’t fall into this trap! If you exercise daily, try to boost your routines anywhere from 15-30 minutes extra during the holidays, which will allow you to compensate if you do tend to eat a little more than expected during this time of the year.
The holiday season is only six weeks long. Maintain a healthy schedule during those six weeks each year, and you could maintain your weight for life.
Mehul Suthar, DO