Enjoy the Holiday Season without the Dreaded 7-8 Pound Weight Gain
By Dr. Luiza Petre
The holidays are here, bringing with them a string of celebrations, chaotic schedules, travel and
lots of epicurean indulgences. Our spirits are lifted by the warm feelings that we recall from our
childhood: the gifts, the cookies, and the special family times. The invitations and cards are
pouring in, and we just want to abandon ourselves to this jubilant romance of year-end.
Everything swirls into a relentless eating and partying contest straight through the end of the year!
Are you in the mood for the holidays or are you beginning to feel the stress?
Studies show that during the holiday season we tend to gain 7- 8 pounds. No, no, no, we shake
our heads; we are absolutely not entering a contest with Santa. Experts suggest that eating
healthy and just one hour of exercise a day can help you stay in good shape even while you have
fun and celebrate.
During the holidays we often give up our normal routine. It’s imperative to remain active during
the holidays, even if you cannot commit as much time. Exercise can boost your energy; keep you
focused and you’ll be less likely to allow yourself to fall into decadent eating.
Choose one thing that needs an appointment like a group fitness class, and treat it the
same way as you would other commitments.
Do you have a fitness tracker? Are you counting your steps? It takes 10 minutes of fast
walking for 1000 steps and 10,000 steps can burn an extra 500 calories.
Tired of walking? Turn on your favorite tunes and dance. Salsa or swing dancing can
burn as much as 400 calories in one hour. Be creative, have fun!
Tips to Control Your Eating
While endless temptations are everywhere, holiday meals don’t have to disrupt your healthy
journey. With a little preparation, you'll be able to face the holiday head-on and still enjoy it.
Graciously say no. We all can recall at least one occasion when “please take one more”
or “I cooked this for you.” Sometimes no thank you can work. And if that fails, simply
answer: "I had some already—so delicious!"
Focus on people and less on food. Feed your mind with conversations and catch up with
friends and family versus feeding your stomach. Make sure that you chose a location far
from the food table so that mindless nibbling is not an option.
Eat a protein meal before the party. Do not skip meals just because you have a party
and want to 'save up' your calories. You will arrive famished and that spells trouble. Never
hit a holiday party on an empty stomach.
Cocktail time. Alcohol can wreck havoc on your weight. Not only does it add calories, but
it also lowers your inhibitions and you wind up eating more. Always start with an
unsweetened non-alcoholic beverage to satisfy your thirst. Drink one glass of water for
every alcoholic beverage and limit yourself to two drinks per evening.
Eat only half. If you do not want to give up those harmful bites during holidays, you have
to pay attention to portions. Most restaurants give you significantly larger portions than is
necessary. Some helpful tips are to order off the kid’s menu, split an entrée with a friend,
or put half of the dish in a to-go box so that you are not tempted to overeat.
Sipping before meals helps dieters consume 90 calories less at each meal. Take your weight in
pounds, divide by two, and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink each day. The
additional benefit is that water is good for your skin. Staying hydrated also makes you look and
Enjoy Without Guilt
While the holiday season can be a very challenging time of the year, there are smart ways to
indulge and not pay the price with a weight gain. The good news is that you can still stay on track.
Moderation and planning are key so all those seasonal delicacies can be as enjoyable as ever.
About: Dr. Luiza Petre is a Cardiologist and medical director of three Medi-Weightloss® clinics, a physician-supervised
weight loss program. www.mediweightloss.com She lives and practices in New York.