Contributed by: Dustin Gonzalez, NASM-CPT

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many it also becomes a time for overeating and weight gain. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year. Over a lifetime, holiday weight gain can really add up. But, the holidays don’t have to mean weight gain; if you focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun you can battle the holiday bulge. Try implementing a few of these simple tips to help you stay healthy through the holiday season.

  1. Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.
  2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Try 10- or 15- minute brisk walks twice a day.
  3. Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
  4. Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  5. Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
  6. If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound.
  7. Take the focus off food. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.
  8. Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering.Enjoy the holidays, plan a time for activity, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you.References: http://www.cpmc.org

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