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How to avoid holiday weight gain

The holidays are upon us, and ‘tis the season to enjoy family and friends — which often involves food and drink.

Research shows that as much as 75 percent of someone’s annual weight gain occurs between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The average person gains one to two pounds during this time, and the majority of people do not lose this weight.

While that amount may seem insignificant, one to two pounds adds up to 10 to 20 pounds over the course of 10 years. Experts refer to this gradual gaining of small amounts of weight as creeping obesity. Being overweight leads to many health problems, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Gaining weight during the holidays does not have to happen! Here are a few tips to help you avoid the creep of added pounds:

LIMIT INDULGING

Enjoy and indulge on special days during the season while maintaining your healthy eating habits otherwise.

PRIORITIZE EXERCISE

Make time for exercise. Exercising in the morning, before you get sidetracked, can help you keep this commitment.

If you exercise three times per week, add an extra workout for days you indulge.

EAT BEFORE YOU GO

Don’t go to a party hungry. Have a small meal beforehand that includes protein. Protein helps us feel full and balance blood sugar, which will decrease cravings.

STAY HYDRATED

Drinking water helps us feel full, and as a result, consume fewer calories.

EAT SLOWLY

The quicker that we consume, the less time our bodies have to register fullness. It takes our brain about 20 minutes to realize we are full. Wait a bit before getting the second serving — or better yet, skip it.

LIMIT ALCOHOL

Choose your beverages carefully, as caloric intake can increase quickly with sugary, alcoholic drinks. Too much alcohol also can increase our appetite, leading to overeating.

WEAR FORM-FITTING CLOTHES

It can be hard to notice small amounts of weight gain, especially if you are wearing sweatpants or loose clothing. If your form-fitting pants become a bit tight, you’ll know you need to add an extra workout or decrease your caloric intake.

The holiday season is six weeks long. Maintain healthy habits during this period each year, and you could maintain your weight for life!


Dr. Pamela Tuli is a hematologist/oncologist who has been practicing on the Mississippi Gulf Coast since 2007, and she currently is with Memorial Hospital in Gulfport. Her medical school and residency training was at Temple University in Philadelphia, and she completed her hematology and oncology fellowship while serving in the United States Air Force. She can be contacted at (228)-575-1234.

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