It is the season for holiday eating, which means most of us will put on about two extra pounds (one kg approx). While that might not sound like much, annual weight gain adds up year after year. But, instead of putting down the fruit cakes altogether, Dr Amy Moore, assistant professor of nutrition at Saint Louis University in the US, offers a few sensible approaches to enjoy the season while keeping your waistline in check.
Be choosy about your splurges. “Holidays are a time to sample special seasonal treats that people have spent a lot of time preparing,” Moore says, adding, “If your aunt’s delectable Christmas buche de noel beckons, enjoy a slice, but pass on the brownies or soda.”
Pay attention to what you’re eating. Savour every bite and take time to appreciate what you’re putting in your mouth.
If you know you are going to a party in the evening, have a filling breakfast and lunch. “Bring something healthy to potlucks so that you can count on at least one healthy option being offered,” Moore says. “Fruits like pomegranates, oranges and cranberries are terrific holiday dishes because they are festive and easy,” she adds.
Conversation is calorie-free. Focus on family and friendship, not the food.
Water is also calorie-free. “Alternate a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage to pace yourself as you celebrate and prevent a next day hangover,” Moore advises.
Exercise. “While it’s not necessary to count every calorie, it is good to have a rough idea of how your calorie intake corresponds
to your exercise. You must note that it takes more exercise than you think to balance out your food intake,” says Ethel Frese, associate professor of physical therapy and athletic training at Saint Louis University.
Fight the urge to hibernate. Bundle up and get out for fresh air and exercise, Frese adds, “Run errands, stop by to meet your friends or check out an exhibit at a museum. The point is to keep moving.”