Avoid gaining holiday weight, Dec. 8

    Avoid gaining holiday weight

    We're in the thick of the holiday season where food and drink are plenty. Follow these tips from MU Extension's Missouri Families to enjoy the season's offerings without packing on the pounds. 

    During the holidays, many people accept that they are going to gain weight and assume they can lose it later. A study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that most people gain about one pound during the holidays. That might seem worth it to be able to indulge in holiday treats. The downside, however, is that most people don't ever lose the weight. Year after year, those pounds start adding up.

    The best plan is to avoid gaining holiday weight so you never have to worry about losing it. It's not impossible — it just takes some planning and good decision-making.

    Try these tips for maintaining your weight during the holiday season:

    • Eat breakfast. This tip applies year-round, but it is especially important this time of year. People who eat breakfast eat less the rest of the day.
    • If you are at a party, choose the small plate. Research shows that we base the amount of food we take on the plate size and not on our own hunger cues.
    • Wait 15 minutes before you decide if you want a second helping. Most will find they are full.
    • Get plenty of rest — people who are sleep deprived eat more.
    • Take healthy food to the party to be sure there's something for you to eat.
    • Keep a food journal to help you be more mindful about what goes in your mouth. People who write down every bite they eat tend to eat less. Calories in the little bites add up fast.
    • Get moving! If you are consuming extra calories, burn them off by including movement — such as walking, caroling, sledding and ice skating — in your holiday activities.

    The holidays are meant to be a festive happy time. Practice these tips, and you can still have a great time but you won't have to worry about losing that pound in January.

    For more information on holiday eating for your health