Avoiding Weight Gain During The Holidays

Mike Lawson
Dietary Manager
Arlington Court Skilled Nursing & Rehab

It is that special time of year again and we all look forward to the season of joy, presents, family, football, and food. The holidays are that time of year when you have opportunities to eat good old fashion cooking from family and carryout. The carbs stack up with the mashed potatoes, stuffing, corn pudding, assorted pies, and sugar cookies. Who doesn’t like a sugar cookie, a slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream, or eggnog? The holidays make it easy to gorge in some of our culture’s most famous food traditions and before you know it you might be a little heavier on the scale. How can we enjoy the spirit of the holidays and still watch our weight? Below I have researched some ways we can do both without tipping the scale.

One thing we all can do is stay active. This doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon or go through a military boot camp. The two most important things you can do to stay active is to do something you enjoy and to stay consistent in that activity. For me I enjoy playing ultimate frisbee. For those of you who do not know what that is it is a combination of soccer and football with a frisbee disc. This is a fast- paced game and it requires a lot of running and endurance. It is an activity I enjoy and luckily, I have been able to find enough people to play with through the winter months. Other examples of activities can include a spin class at a nearby fitness center, basketball with friends, playing with the dog outside while getting some fresh air, or taking a stroll in the evening time to look at holiday decorations. The idea is to do something you enjoy so you will stay consistent.

Second watch your portion sizes. It is amazing how many calories we unknowingly eat. Have you ever poured yourself a big bowl of cereal? There is a good chance you poured yourself two to three servings before you poured the milk and added sugar. Some ways to watch portions sizes are to read the back of food labels. These give you valuable information such as the calories per serving, fat percentage, number of carbs and sugars, as well as the ingredients. More times than not you will be finding your portion sizes larger than what it says on the back of the box. Second have a smaller plate. When we are around the dinner table, we fill up our plate as a way of saying to ourselves we now have enough food. If we have a smaller plate, we have less food on our plate which means less calories consumed. It’s a way of tricking the brain into saying we have eaten enough food without over-eating.

Third, get plenty of sleep. It can be hard to get to sleep on time. There is always something I would rather be doing such as watching a show on Netflix, working on my hobbies, playing videogames, or working out later in the evening. The problem is that when you do not get adequate sleep you tend to be hungrier during the time you are awake which in turn leads to more calorie consumption. Being tired means that you are less likely to exercise and studies have show that limited sleep leads to a lower metabolism and increases your hunger hormones. Getting enough sleep makes you less dependent on caffeine intake. which can lead to greater anxiety.  Sleeping well also adds to your quality of life. You are more alert and oriented, less grouchy, and can get more done which can lead to a greater sense of accomplishment.

In conclusion after doing a little research these were the top three things that I felt were most important for a person to do during the holidays in order to keep the weight down. These three habits can be done by anyone and with a little discipline following them can lead to a better quality of life.

Source: Brianna Elliott, RD Written April 5th 2019 – 2005-2021 Healthline Media a Red Ventures Company