Prevent weight gain during holiday season

| December 18, 2014 | 1 Comment
Holiday overeating leads to many New Year's resolutions to lose weight. (file photo)

Holiday overeating leads to many New Year’s resolutions to lose weight. (file photo)

Robert Kent
Army News Service

One of the most common weight management challenges for Americans every year is preventing weight gain during the holiday season.

A decrease in physical exercise can also contribute to weight gain.

Holiday eating is a major contributing factor to obesity and all the overeating leads to many New Year’s resolutions to lose weight.

Many Soldiers go to mom or grandma’s house and can gain more than 10 pounds in less than two weeks.

Develop a strategy
There are various strategies that can be used to avoid or minimize weight gain. Choose foods wisely and stick to one small or moderate serving of a few high calorie foods. Pick the foods you like the most, such as mashed potatoes, and do not take foods you don’t like that much, such as passing over the dinner rolls or macaroni and cheese.

Many people will try to ”save” their calories and skip meals in anticipation of having a large meal, but this frequently leads to eating too much because these individuals are hungry by the time they start eating, and self-control often goes out the window.

It is important to still eat small, regular meals before having the holiday meal to promote portion control later in the day and boost the metabolism, and it helps to have a small snack such as a piece of fruit right before going to a buffet to prevent overeating.

Other tips include the following:

•Drink water. Drink water or lower calorie or calorie-free beverages during meals since dehydration can cause people to eat more.

•Eating slowly and enjoying the food also helps with portion control.

•Take a break. After having one plate of food, take a break and drink some water. Get away from the food table, if possible, talk to people, and do not focus on the food. Those who are still hungry will usually feel full or almost full a few minutes later.

Don’t eat what you don’t like. If a food does not taste good after the first bite, stop eating it and leave it on the plate.

•Be careful with alcohol. Also watch the eggnog, alcohol (especially mixed drinks) and other beverages that are full of calories. Drinking alcohol can also cause a loss of control that can lead to overeating.

•Control sweets. Those who like to bake sweets during the holidays, but find they eat too much of what they bake, could prepare holiday treats they do not like that much or give most of them away.

•Sugar substitutes. Making sweets with less fat and sugar, such as substituting applesauce for oil or butter, whenever possible, and substituting half the sugar with substitutes, will decrease the overall calories in the recipe, and the dessert will still taste good.

Continue to exercise
Another important step to take to prevent or minimize holiday weight gain is continuing to exercise on a regular basis. Park far away from the shopping center, take a long walk after a meal and make time in your schedule to exercise.

Obtaining a daily weight can also help minimize weight gain.

Chances are, if a person weighs himself daily and wants to prevent weight gain, he will either cut back his food intake or exercise more if the scale indicates he is starting to gain weight.

If no scale is available, buy a scale from the local store; don’t let yourself gain many pounds and just count on exercising it away after returning from holiday leave.

It can be hard to lose holiday weight and can impact careers when Soldiers fail to maintain Army body fat standards.

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Category: Community, Health

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