'Eat Healthy' during the holiday season

By Elizabeth Williams | Dec 12, 2013
Elizabeth Williams

The holiday season is a festive time loaded with parties, candies, desserts, time with loved ones, joy, and happiness. With all the social events that are centered around food, you may find you are eating unhealthy or over consuming. Studies show the average individual will gain between 5 and 10 pounds during this period. Often those extra pounds can be very challenging to get off and over time, can add up to significant weight gain.

There are a few things you can do to help you get through this time without doing damage to your waist line.  If you find that being a social butterfly is impacting your weight management goals, stimuli narrowing may help. Stimuli narrowing is a concept in which one limits their exposure to stimuli. In this case, it would mean limiting exposure to situations that could lead to over eating. An example would be to limit the number of holiday events you attend, especially the ones that are solely food focused. If you are involved in the planning, plan more activity focused parties and have healthy food options for guests.

Plan ahead.  When you are in a situation where you are exposed to trigger foods, make a plan before you go. This plan may include practicing portion control. Plan to have a small portion of the foods that you normally would not eat every day. You may also choose to eat a small snack before you go. This strategy can help you choose better and eat smaller portions. Whatever the plan, it is important to think about it before you are in the situation.

Stay Active. It’s important to continue your exercise plan during this busy time. Being consistent with exercise can help to avoid weight gain with increased food intake. Also, exercise has been shown to help reduce emotional eating.

And lastly, do not fear mistakes. During this time, you may choose to eat foods you don’t normally eat that could result in a weight gain. What should you do if this happens? Take Action!!  You want to reverse the small weight gain before it becomes a gain that seems psychologically more difficult to reverse. Just remember, any gain is reversible if you go back to a food and activity plan that worked for you in the past.

Elizabeth Williams, MS, RD, LDN, is a registered dietitian at Mission Health.

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