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Weight Control

Holiday ‘Feast’ivities: Tips on Avoiding Winter Weight Gain

Many of us panic during the holiday season for one big reason ... food! It just looks so good we sometimes have a tendency to overindulge. What can be done to keep from going too far?

Shari Bilt, a registered dietitian at the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center offers the reassurance: A holiday meal is only one meal, and you will not gain weight from one meal alone. The key is consistency — if you eat healthy meals during the holiday months, it’s okay to splurge once or twice.

“Don’t deny yourself an occasional treat,” says Martha McKittrick, another registered dietitian. “What people need to realize is that everybody can eat something of everything — it’s just a question of how much.”

The dietitians offer the following guidelines to keep you and your diet from straying too far:

1. Plan Ahead. Remember the “calorie bank” concept — save calories the week before to give yourself more calories to eat during the holidays.

2. Never go to a party hungry. Snack on low-fat foods before you leave for the party and you will be less tempted to overindulge at the party.

3. Take control of your environment. Never engage in conversation while sitting next to a platter of your favorite cookies.

4. Bring a low-fat dish to the party for you to concentrate on and share with others.

5. Fill your plate with veggies and lean protein foods. Add only small “tastes” of high-fat dishes.

6. Eat slowly and savor every bite. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to signal to your brain that you are full.

7. Decide in advance how you will handle gifts of cookies and candy. Avoid temptation — don’t leave them out in the open. Take one or two and give the rest away.

8. Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol is full of calories and can stimulate your appetite and reduce your willpower.

9. Stay Active. Don’t let holiday activity slow down your exercise program. Exercise can help burn off extra calories and make you feel good about yourself.

10. Moderation is key to weight maintenance. A forkful of cheesecake will do less damage than a whole piece. Remember, an occasional indulgence will not destroy your weight-loss attempts.

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