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How to Win the Holiday Battle of the Bulge
Just thinking about traditional holiday meals can put the appetite in high gear, before even lifting a fork to taste that first savory bite. And then it begins: about six weeks of feasting at holiday parties.
The temptation to overeat is lurking at every table. By New Year's Day, many of us are avoiding the scales, wearing elastic-waist pants and thinking about joining a health club to undo the damage to our waistlines.
How much weight gain
The average American gains at least five pounds during the six-week winter holiday period. A study of 200 people, reported in the March 2000 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, found the following:
Relatively small holiday weight gains of just a few pounds, when added together year after a year, likely contribute significantly to the substantial weight gain that occurs during adulthood. Since more than half of all Americans are considered overweight, which can increase risk for a multitude of serious diseases, holiday weight gain is something to be taken seriously.
Holidays are no time to diet
Why spoil the festivities by feeling guilty about indulging in special foods for special times? You will likely feel frustrated and deprived when you force yourself to say "no," or guilty when you decide to indulge. Rather than trying to lose weight, try to prevent weight gain.
Tips for sensible holiday eating
Physical activity is one of the best gifts you can give yourself and your family during the holiday season. Fitness experts recommend at least 30-60 minutes a day. During the busy holiday season, sneak in exercise by:
All of these small steps toward maintaining your weight during the holidays can add up to big steps toward your lifelong good health. Happy Holidays!
For more helpful tips and healthy holiday recipes, visit www.mealsmatter.org. Meals Matter – www.mealsmatter.org – is a non-commercial website supported by Dairy Council of California, staffed by registered dietitians and dedicated to promoting healthy food choices for families.
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