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It's Never Too Late to do Something: Shed That Holiday Weight

It's Never Too Late to do Something
Shed That Holiday Weight
by Jennifer LB Leese

During the holidays, we're all guilty of eating one too many cookies or a slice of pie a little larger than we usually eat. Halloween starts the downward spiral for many. If you can get through all the holidays to the New Year without gaining weight - that's a miracle in itself.
Don't beat yourself up if you gained a few pounds this holiday season. As American poet Carl Sandburg says, "The time for action is now. It's never too late to do something."
Holiday Blowouts- The Most Common Reasons
Portions- More often than not what you put on your plate isn't a serving size. When you're taking more than what is recommended, you'll surely start to gain weight.
Partying- From Halloween to the New Year, we attend many parties. We tend to drink more high-calorie drinks and get sucked into the mindless grazing at the food table. Since we're nit picking, we don't see the amount of food or the calories we are putting into our bellies.
Food Table- There's usually way too much food laid out at a party. If you're pretty good at staying away from eating an over amount of sweets and carbs, are you strong enough to tell your aunt or grandmother that you really don't want that second piece of pie or extra dip of ice cream?
Desserts- Why does there seem to be more desserts on the table than meats, side dishes, and vegetables? Let's face it - the holidays are the perfect time to make a new and exciting sweet treat. Before attending a party.
Time and Energy- We're all struggling to find that perfect gift. If we aren't out there pounding the pavement, we're constantly thinking of what to get and where to get it. This causes less sleep, which in turn causes less energy, which escalates to eating quickly and usually unhealthy. Our minds are frazzled.
Drinks- Most of us are guilty for it - drinking our calories. Our bodies have a suggested calorie intake limit. When we're drinking most of them, we don't leave many for our foods, thus causing overeating our calories. During the holidays eggnog is one of the top favorites. This tasty drink gives us about 257 calories and 14 grams of fat in just one cup!
Being Still- Parades, football games, and holiday programs are abundant this time of year. We're sitting more than we're exercising.
The Seconds- How many dinners do you attend in one day? Many people attend several. Some go to their grandmothers in the morning, their mom and dad's in the afternoon, and their sibling's house in the evening. Most likely they're all serving something - so you're not only eating seconds, you're eating thirds.
Depression- Depression hits everyone differently. For some they hardly eat. For most they over eat. Family worries and financial woes often slip the healthy into unhealthy.
Contradicting the Holiday Blowouts- What to do Instead
Portions- When preparing your meals, look on the side panel of the package and see what the serving size is for one person. Measure if you have to - a single serving of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards, and a helping of pasta is the size of a baseball. You can fill the rest of your plate with low-calorie steamed veggies.
Partying- One sure way to avoid overeating is to not attend the party overly hungry. If it's a pot-luck, you be the one to prepare a healthy food. Preparing your own food puts you in charge.
Food Table- If you want to appease the food-pushing aunt or grandmother, take small portions of what they're offering. You'll be happy and so will they. Just be sure to tell them no when they offer you the untouched pie to take home for later.
Desserts- Limit yourself to having a small piece of pie. Pumpkin pie only has 200 calories. That's a lot, but compared to pecan pie at 400 calories, it's the better choice. You may even try to skip the whipped topping or ice cream on the side.
Time and Energy- Instead of stopping at the fast food restaurant near where you are shopping, find a better alternative such as a sit-down restaurant where you can order healthy or bring your own energizing food.
Drinks- Instead eggnog or a cocktail, enjoy a sparkling glass of champagne at 100 calories. Use no-cal sweeteners in regular coffee and switch to diet soda or no-cal seltzer and when you exercise, drink water - it speeds up our metabolism.
Being Still- Of course, the alternative to being still is exercising. The cold weather keeps many of us from taking that nice long walk. Well, the outside isn't the only place to take an enjoyable walk. In our area, the mall opens early - before most of the stores. Yes you'll have to drive there, but you can walk the entire length of the mall (several times if you want) to get in your exercise before most people's days even begin. Also, now would be a good time to get yourself a gift - a membership to your local gym.
The Seconds- Avoid seconds or thirds by finishing your meal, drink some water, and wait a few minutes. If you're still hungry, go back for small amounts and then repeat the above.
Depression- The best way to overcome seasonal blues is to talk with a supportive friend or family member, don't skip meals, and exercise, even if it's walking around the block.
Below are more ways to beat the bulge.
Beauty Sleep - Research from the American Journal of Epidemiology has shown that women who sleep less than 7 hours a night tend to put on more weight during their middle age years than women who sleep more. The study also showed that women who slept only 5 hours a night were one-third more likely to gain weight (33 pounds or more).
No Meal Skipping- Your mom was right - breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. In the morning your energy decreases by as much as 80 percent from the night before. If you skip breakfast, your body shifts into starvation mode, which means conserves energy by burning fewer calories. If you aren't really hungry in the morning, try a glass of milk and half a bagel with peanut butter. Eat several small meals rather than 3 large ones.
So, what are you waiting for? Get started today!

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