The holiday season, starting with Halloween and ending with New Year’s Day, is a time of food-filled festivities and can be a trying time for those managing their weight. According to a 2007 New York Times article, holiday weight gain is often over exaggerated, but in reality Americans put on an average of one pound during the holiday season. This may not seem like a lot, but if we don’t lose that one pound (or even realize that we put it on in the first place), they can really add up over a lifetime, quickly becoming an extra ten, fifteen, or twenty pounds!
Here’s a bit of advice that will help you manage your weight, while enjoying a stress-free season:
1. Be realistic. Losing weight during the holidays may not be the most realistic goal. Instead, make it your goal to maintain your weight. Pick up those weight loss efforts again in the new year.
2. Make it a holiday. Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. are just a few days out of 365. Allow yourself to enjoy those days, but don’t turn the holiday into a holiweek or holimonth.
3. Don’t deprive yourself. Try this at your next party or gathering: before you take a plate and start filling it up with food, survey the spread of options and ask yourself what foods you must have and put them on your plate. The foods that you can do without; leave them off your plate. This way, you are not depriving yourself of your favorite foods, which often leads to overeating, while at the same time saving calories on the foods that you didn’t really want anyway.
4. Don’t hibernate. Just because there’s a chill in the air doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors! Start a new holiday tradition of walking after your big meal, playing a game of flag football, going to a holiday concert or volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen. Not all holiday traditions have to be food related.
5. Remember the reason for the season. The holidays aren’t just about eating lots of great food; we get together with family and friends to celebrate! Focus on the social aspect of the holidays instead of the food-centered traditions.
Happy Holidays from the Emory Bariatric Center!
Author: Meagan Mohammadione, RD, LD