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December 12, 2016
3 Ways to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

3 Ways to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

The Hood Answer Mom, Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D.

The holiday season is in full swing, and while it's a joyful time of year, it can also be stressful because there’s too much to do during December, and not enough time to take care of yourself. Here are the three strategies I use to get me through to New Year's Day.

Balance the urge to splurge

I never avoid my favorite holiday foods, including Eggnog White Chocolate Truffles, Golden Eggnog Cutout Cookies, and Golden Eggnog Cake in the name of good health. After all, certain treats like Hood Eggnog, are available only at this time of year. 

I manage my urge to splurge with the 80/20 rule: Eat a balanced diet for 80 percent of the week, and allow yourself some treats the rest of the time.  Allowing holiday foods into your healthy eating plan may actually keep you from overeating in the long run. Why? Denial can backfire, and you may end up eating food you don’t love. If you go overboard, forgive yourself and do better the next day! 

Get enough sleep

I get very grumpy when I don’t get enough shut-eye, and you may, too.  Sleep is tied to your mood, but also to weight control.  A recent study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that people who skimp on sleep eat more.  People who participated in the study consumed an average of about 400 extra calories day after getting inadequate shut-eye. 

The study also found that people who spent less time sleeping ate less protein the next day. Protein-packed foods, such as Hood Cottage Cheese, Hood Milk, lean meat, seafood, and nuts, keep you fuller for longer and prevent you from overdoing it at holiday parties and throughout the day.  Aim for no less than seven hours of shut-eye every night to prevent putting on pounds, and to maintain your energy.  

Watch yourself on the weekends

Weekends were made for relaxing, but don’t let your guard down too much at the end of the week.  Eating more and exercising less on Saturdays and Sundays may lead to weight gain, according to research in the journal Obesity. Holiday weekends can be especially hard on your waistline when you attend one or more gatherings. 

I schedule a Saturday work out and take a long walk on Sunday. Making exercise a high priority on the weekends can help to counteract weight gain.  Prevent overeating at parties by eating a small snack with protein and carbohydrate, such as Hood Cottage Cheese and a few whole grain crackers, before you hit the party scene.  

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward

Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D., is a writer, nutrition consultant, and mother of three. She is the author of several books, including MyPlate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better and Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, & After Pregnancy . Ward is also a contributing writer for Muscle & Fitness Hers and Men's Fitness magazines.

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