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Gain some knowledge instead of weight before holiday parties and meals

November 26, 2019
Enjoy time with friends and family during holidays, making them - not food - the focus, advises the MUSC Weight Management Center.

    The Weight Management Center team at MUSC Health whipped up a tip sheet to help get you through the holidays.

    1. Focus on weight management instead of weight loss during the holidays. Set realistic goals for the holiday season.

    2. Plan to “not” diet after the New Year. Anticipation of food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating over the holidays.

    3. Record and graph weight daily; begin before holiday parties/eating begin.

    4. Record eating and calculate calories.

    5. Do extra laps while shopping in malls, stores, etc.

    6. Plan more than three days of exercise (e.g., walking, soccer with kids, gym) and record the planned exercises on your calendar at the beginning of the week.

    7. Drink plenty of water each day, around 64 ounces.

    8. Put holiday food away within two hours of serving it.

    9. Be on the lookout for whether food cravings are psychological versus experiencing actual hunger, which is physiological. If you’re having a craving or you’re unsure, remove yourself from the situation and distract yourself. If you still feel hungry 20 minutes later, then have a healthier snack.

    10. Consider whether a food is worth the exercise needed to burn it off.

    11. You can have your favorite holiday foods but just eat smaller portions of them.

    12. Choose only foods you really want. Don’t waste calories on mediocre foods or foods you wouldn’t miss if you didn’t have them.

    13. Take small healthy snacks when you go out shopping.

    14. Eat off of smaller plates.

    15. Make a plan. It’s easier to deal with a situation if you have planned ahead. Set a limit of how much you can have at a party.

    16. Eat a light snack before going to holiday parties. Try a piece of fruit, light yogurt or string cheese before you go.

    17. Do some physical activity every day. Physical activity, especially aerobic activity, can help relieve stress, regulate appetite and burn extra calories from holiday eating.

    18. Take steps to avoid recreational eating. Eat slowly. Once you’re done, sip on a glass of water, pop a mint or chew a stick of gum and stay away from food areas.

    19. When setting food out, place healthier foods such as fruits and veggies so they’re easier to reach and make higher calorie foods such as desserts harder to reach.

    20. Reduce the calories in holiday recipes.

    21. Choose beverages wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Liquor, sweet wine and sweet mixed drinks contain 150 to 450 calories per glass. Limit your intake to one or two drinks. Soda, fruit punch and eggnog can also be high in calories.

    22. Enjoy good friends and family. Don’t let food be the focus. Try not to socialize near the food. Move into another room or far enough away where you can’t munch while talking.

    23. Maintain perspective. Overeating one day won’t make or break your eating plan. You won’t gain weight from one day of overeating. If you overindulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual plan the next day without guilt or despair.

    24. Fill your first plate with all healthier foods like fruits, veggies and lean meat.

    25. Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register the food you’ve just eaten.

    26. Plan an exercise outing for the days of your holiday parties. Start a healthy family “holiday walk” or “family football game” tradition.

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Staff Report

Keywords: Fitness and Wellness