Tips to prevent holiday weight gain

By Tanya Davis | Published Wednesday, December 5, 2012

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I’m sure that many of you have realized that the temptations of the season are upon us. Julie Kennel, human nutrition specialist with Ohio State Extension shares insights to help us control those holiday temptations that come in the form of extra calories.

Fortunately, weight gain isn’t inevitable. In fact, most studies suggest an average weight gain over the holidays of about 1 pound. This is good news because most people assume it is five or 10 times that number.

Perhaps the first thing to acknowledge is that this won’t be easy. With that in mind, here are a few tips from the experts:

Try a “mindful eating” approach. A recent Ohio State University study showed that this technique can help people with diabetes to significantly reduce their weight and blood sugar.

Take a few minutes before eating to assess how hungry you are, and then make a conscious choice about how much you eat. When you’re full, you stop eating.

Help yourself with portion control by using smaller plates, especially at a buffet. Fill it up with vegetables or lean protein, if possible, before you add other dishes. When eating out, ask for a take-home box to be delivered with your food, and put half of your meal in it before you take a bite.

Watch the alcohol. A recent study showed that American adults get an average of 5 percent of their calories from alcohol alone, amounting to about 100 calories a day. Set yourself a limit in advance.

Find ways to increase physical activity to account for extra calories. Stretch your 30-minute workout to 45 minutes. And make it a point to always park far from the entry to work or the store, just to work those extra steps in.

For information on controlling holiday weight gain, call the Extension office at (940) 627-3341.

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