Do the looming holiday months have you frightened about weight gain?

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

Joyce Kavaras, RD, LD

December 7th, 2012

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but managing your weight during the holidays doesn’t have to be! Most people assume or have heard that the average person gains five to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. NOT TRUE according to research! On average, the weight gain is less than one pound for those six weeks. However, the number does go up for those battling the bulge, and the key for this group is PREPARATION.

Maintaining your weight during the holiday season begins with reflection. Think about your past behavior during the holidays; what events, foods, stressors, emotions, and habits shift your eating into overdrive? Taking the time to examine your own personal holiday “trouble” spots and then setting a plan for each one will pay off by providing a sense of control.

Picture yourself at each event that triggers overeating and visualize yourself making wise choices that will make you feel good. Be as specific and detailed as you can. Once in the situation, if you feel you might go “off the rails” and eat for comfort’s sake, take a deep breath and go back to your pre-event reflection. Let that be your guide rather than falling back into your old routine. Remind yourself that food and overindulging won’t “fix” any negative feelings, and in fact, will make you feel worse… Goodyear, as in aerial photography, anyone?

If you are feeling really overwhelmed and didn’t plan appropriately, you can just fall back on some very basic strategies to feel better. These come from Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think. They require little effort and can be used on the spot.

  1. Use smaller plates.
  2. Pre-serve food from the table or stove.
  3. Follow the half-plate rule…fill half your plate with vegetables, fruits and salad; then put whatever you want on the other half.

Finally, be PRESENT! Enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and people (some more than others, I’m sure). Wherever you are, take notice, as these are all (calorie-free) gifts! Who knew that being “present” is a present all in itself? And if it helps keep those extra pounds at bay, it’s one gift we can’t afford to miss.

Questions? Comments? Share your thoughts here.

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