The eating frenzy began at Halloween and will continue through New Year. We feast until the Super Bowl is over.
But it isnít necessary to hibernate during the festivities to avoid packing on those extra pounds. Here are some ideas to encourage you to enjoy yourself during the holiday season without becoming an unofficial member of the holiday weight-gainers club:
Strive for five a day of fruits and vegetables. They contain fewer calories and more nutrients than other foods. Plus, they are high in fiber to make you feel fuller.
Stick with your usual schedule Ė donít skip meals.
Make sure that you eat some kind of protein at meals.
As to the trimmings for your holiday meal, be selective and only prepare the foods that you and your family enjoy the most.
Recognize hunger cues such as an empty-stomach feeling or rumbling in your stomach. Eat only when you are hungry and stop when you are full. Eat slowly and mindfully.
Put only modest portions of the foods you like on your plate. Donít go back for seconds for at least 15 minutes. Save room for dessert if you like it, but only if you really like it. Watch your portion sizes.
Eat slowly and try to make the meal last at least 30 minutes. Enjoy fun and upbeat conversation with family and friends during the meal. Let the food be a part of the celebration and not the whole purpose of the celebration.
Allow limited indulgences. Set a limit for treats and stick to it.
Find some baking and cooking alternatives that are lower in calories and more nutritious but that still allow fun time in the kitchen with family and friends.
Donít get caught up in the whirlwind of parties, family gatherings, school functions, etc. It is OK to say no. Overcommitment causes stress, which can actually cause weight gain.
Being alone for the holidays can be fattening. It is easy to feel left out and sorry for yourself, but donít console yourself with food. Share the joys of the holidays by pampering yourself, sharing yourself with others by volunteering, going to church or special holiday programs, eating with wisdom and savoring a few holiday treats.
Make it a priority to do some type of daily physical activity. Exercise is a major tool in both preventing weight gain and losing weight. Donít let anything interfere with your physical activity. Taking care of yourself is the best gift you can give yourself and your family.
Donít become a victim of the ďsnowball effect.Ē Just because you overeat or skip your exercise one day during the holidays, donít let it sabotage you during the whole holiday season.
Getting through the holidays and avoiding expanding your waistline takes some thought and planning. The best way to keep holiday weight gain at bay is to spend time focusing on the true meaning of the holiday season. Thanks to the University of Wyoming Extension for some of these holiday thoughts.
firstname.lastname@example.org or 247-4355. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.