Can you feel your mouth watering over the thought of juicy turkey, warm gravy, and creamy pumpkin pie? Many of us want to stuff our face with these foods since they are only enjoyed once a year, but then feel post holiday guilt when faced with having to lay down to zip our pants!
How much weight do you think the average American gains each holiday season? Surprisingly, the research shows that the average American adult gains a mere one pound over the holiday season. But don’t plan to pile on the potatoes just yet. The problem is that the additional pound is not lost following the holidays. Then with each holiday season an additional pound is gained, and before we know it, we’ve packed on 10 pounds and don’t know how or why (yikes!). Weight gain of just two pounds can increase waist size by one inch, and these additional pounds can wreck havoc on your health, causing increased risk of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and may even take years off your life. Consider the following this holiday season:
Cutting just 100 calories each day can lead to a 10 pound weight loss over a year. Try making traditional foods with just a little less fat or sugar than usual. Most likely no one will know the difference and you’ll be saving calories and fat. Or experiment with herbs and spices in place of salt, sugar, or fat. They enhance the natural flavor of food without piling on extra calories, and they are packed with disease fighting antioxidants. Try sage, nutmeg, cinnamon, or rosemary to bring out the warm and earthy flavors of fall foods.
Meatless dishes are a hot food trend. Experiment with side dishes loaded with veggies (and the herbs noted above). They typically contain less calories and more fiber which fills you up and keeps you feeling satisfied for hours. Click here for tasty and creative holiday veggie side ideas.
“Grazing” throughout the day can really pack on the calories. Finishing off the last biscuit = about 125 calories, sliver of pecan pie = about 200 calories, ½ cup of eggnog = about 130 calories, handful of potato chips = about 150 calories. Over the course of a day these seemingly innocent behaviors can really add up. Remember to be mindful of the extras or you could easily consume a whole day’s worth of calories before the meal even starts!
If you do happen to gain the extra pound this season, set a goal to get that extra pound off in January. Losing one pound can be achieved healthfully in one week! And if you have found that you’ve held onto those extra holiday pounds over the years, stay motivated to lose the weight by setting realistic, mini-goals for weight loss throughout the year.