Lillian Craggs-Dino, RD
- Registered Dietitian
- Department of Bariatric Surgery
- Cleveland Clinic Florida
Parties and office gatherings celebrating the holiday season make it a tough time of year for anyone trying to eat healthy and stay fit. There are always holiday cookies in the office or unhealthy snacks at parties which adds up. Most Americans gain a few pounds during the winter holidays, yet never lose them throughout the rest of the year which leads to adult obesity. Don’t fall into the traps; here are some tips to help you survive the holiday season without increasing your pant size.
Rather than trying to lose weight throughout this holiday season, try and maintain a steady weight. Eating indulgences is what the holidays are about; don’t try to avoid all the foods you enjoy because you want to lose weight. Rather, step on a scale before the season begins and try to keep that number during November and December. Weigh yourself twice a week so you know that you are staying on track. Step on the scale first thing in the morning when your stomach is empty.
Portion control is key. It is not what you eat; it is how much you eat of it. When there is a buffet, pick the smallest plate and don’t stack your food. When your plate is full, you have enough. Go for the simplest foods on the buffet such as fruit and vegetables or shrimp cocktail.
One of the best things to do is to keep moving. Exercising for 30 minutes a day can help you maintain your weight. Even if it is just taking a walk, getting your body moving helps. Take family walks after dinner. Plus this will get you out of the house and away from the food.
Don’t double up on dessert or alcohol. This is when your body goes into a fat-storing mode. If you really want the wine and the cake, try and space them out by a couple of hours. Don’t eat and drink them together. Don’t swear off desserts, practice a three bite rule. You will be satisfied enough with just three bites and to keep your sweet tooth happy.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol. If you drink too much, you won’t have as much control over what you want to eat. Carry around a club soda or sip on water so you don’t feel out of place. Never arrive hungry. If you go to a party starving then you are likely to stuff your face. Try and eat nutritious snacks beforehand so that you aren’t constantly snacking. Fill up by drinking large glasses of water so that you don’t over eat when you arrive.
Cleveland Clinic Florida offers a non-surgical weight loss program that is open to anyone over the age of 16 and interested in losing weight. The program not only provides participants with a dietary plan for weight loss but will also provide tools for effective psychological behavior modification. Join us to speak with a Cleveland Clinic Florida nutritionist about portion control and exercise to help keep those extra pounds off this holiday season.
Lillian Craggs-Dino, RD is a registered dietitian in the Department of Bariatric Surgery at Cleveland Clinic Florida.
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