by Dr. Adarsh Gupta, Family Physician, Director for the Center for Weight Loss & Metabolic Control (Stratford, NJ)
Holiday season is the time of festivity, family gatherings, social events which includes lunches, dinners, buffet. It is very easy to gain weight during this festive time. You have a tons of cookies, cakes, pastries, sweets all around you – work, home, stores, etc….one bite here, one bite there and slowly you start seeing it in your clothes. You’ve gained weight!
According to a study in New England Journal of Medicine, people tend to gain about one to two pounds on an average during holiday season. This does not sound much. But, what’s troubling is that most people don’t ever lose that one to two pounds they gain during the holidays. It is worse for people who already overweight. This means that over the course of few years, you end up gaining a reasonable amount of weight.
But with simple strategies, you can go through the holiday season without gaining weight. Here are few:
- Control your appetite. A high-protein, low-fat snack can cut your craving at a cocktail party or holiday table and calm down the temptation to load up on desserts and heavily sauced dishes. Or enjoy a bowl of broth-based soup or hot tea before leaving the house. Most importantly, don’t skip meal. It will only leads to binging. Never go to a party hungry!!
- Control your portion. The best way to enjoy a sweet or rich appetizer without losing control is by sampling. Take a small portion of a very rich appetizer or sweet (if you must have it) and eat it slowly.
- Control Calories. Pay attention to preparation and ingredients. Avoid eating too much of foods that are fried, buttered or dripping in cheese and cream. These tiny, fatty bites pack on the pounds faster. Opt instead for foods made with healthful ingredients such as pumpkin, cranberries, sweet potato and lean turkey.
- Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes to reach satiety. Eat slowly to allow your brain a chance to catch up with your stomach and let you know you are full.
- Control Liquid Calories. Classic holiday eggnog is loaded with fat and calories, especially when spiked with brandy. On the other hand, a glass of red wine has half the calories, none of the fat. To cut the number of calorie-rich drinks you consume, drink a glass of water between each beverage. This will help fill your stomach, leaving less room to overindulge.
- Politely say No!: Many times you feel forced to eat because people keep putting it in front of you. Learn to say no politely, such as “No thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious” or “I couldn’t eat another bite. It was delicious”.
- Focus on socializing. After all the holiday season is for socializing, mingling and catching up. Spend more time on that than on food. Remember!!! Conversation is calorie-free!
Adarsh K. Gupta, D.O., M.S., FACOFP
Director, Center for Medical Weight Loss & Metabolic Control
Associate Professor, Family Medicine Rowan-SOM
42 E. Laurel Road, Suite 2100
Stratford, NJ 08084
Information in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical consultation or serve as a substitute for medical advice provided by a physician or qualified medical professional.