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Health Awareness

 What Can I do to Prevent Weight Gain Over the Holidays?

Are you dreading the holiday season because you think you will gain back all of the weight you have lost in the last six months? The best advice is to change your mind-set, says Allison Holzer, registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator for WESTMED Medical Group. Do not expect to lose weight over the holidays and New Year’s Day. Instead, focus on not gaining weight. For success, keep a regular exercise pattern and healthy diet during this time. After all, the fine food of the holidays is one of the delights of the season.

“Allow yourself to splurge on foods that make your holiday season meaningful,” Ms. Holzer advises. “Enjoy your favorites in small amounts. Try to cut back in other ways, and keep your exercise schedule on track. When you splurge at a meal, try to go back to your usual healthy eating habits."

How can I stay on track and not overeat at holiday functions?

You can keep your calorie intake under control in many ways. Try these tips and see which ones work best for you:

  • If you are at a buffet, survey the entire table before you take any food. Decide what foods appeal to you the most, and then stick to that decision. Why waste calories on foods that do not bring you pleasure?
  • Use a small dish and a small bowl when choosing your buffet items. It will help you to watch your portion sizes.
  • Eat a healthy snack before you leave home. If you arrive at a party hungry, you are more likely to overindulge.
  • Eat your calories instead of drinking them. Stick to lower calorie or calorie-free drinks (diet sodas, water, light beer, or a wine spritzer), instead of punches, eggnog, and mixed drinks that can have up to 500 calories per cup.
  • Sip a large glass of water between every alcoholic drink, nonalcoholic punch or eggnog. This will help keep you hydrated, and you will drink fewer calories by the end of the night. When it comes to alcoholic beverages, less is more.
  • When you are hosting, make sure the menu includes lower-calorie foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. When you are a guest, bring along a lower-calorie dish to share.
  • Try not to hang out near the food. Find a comfortable spot across the room, and focus on people instead of eating.
  • Eat your holiday treats slowly and savor the taste and texture of the wonderful foods of the season.

Happy nutritional holidays! Ms. Holzer has office hours at WESTMED’s 210 Westchester Ave., White Plains, and 73 Market Street, Yonkers at Ridge Hill. For an appointment, call (914) 831-4150.

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