7 ways to keep the pounds off this holiday season

Published December 11, 2013 9:27 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's the season for holiday eating. And that means that most of us will pack on about one to two pounds this time of year. While that might not sound like much, annual weight gain adds up year after year.

But rather than put down the eggnog and fruit cake altogether, Dr. Amy Moore, assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University, offers a few sensible approaches to enjoying the season while keeping your waistline intact.

Be picky about your splurges • Holidays are a time to sample special seasonal treats that people have spent a lot of time preparing, Moore says. "If Aunt Helen's delectable Christmas Buche de Noel chocolate dessert beckons, enjoy a slice but pass on the brownies or soda."

Be mindful • Pay attention to what you're eating. Slow down and savor every bite, taking the time to appreciate what you're putting into your mouth.

Plan ahead • If you know you are going to a party in the evening, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. "Bring something healthy to potlucks so at least you can count on one healthy option being offered," Moore says. "Fruit — pomegranates, clementine oranges and cranberries — are terrific holiday dishes because they are pretty, festive and, best of all, easy."

Conversation is calorie-free • Focus on family and friendship, not the food.

Water is calorie-free, too • "Alternate a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage to pace yourself as you celebrate and prevent a next day hangover," Moore advises.

Exercise • "While it's not necessary to count every calorie, it is good to have a rough idea of how your calorie intake corresponds to your exercise, and know that it can take more exercise than you might think to balance out your food intake," adds Ethel Frese, associate professor of physical therapy and athletic training at Saint Louis University.

Fight the urge to hibernate • Bundle up and get out for fresh air and exercise, Frese adds. Run errands, stop by to see friends and neighbors, drop off canned goods at a food pantry, check out an exhibit at a museum or build a snowman. The point is to keep moving.



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