Tips for maintaining your weight this holiday season

The average American gains five to seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, but maintaining healthful eating habits can help them avoid packing on the weight, diabetes nutrition educator Sheri Setser-Legg, right, writes in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

In the face of overwhelming cheese balls, eggnog and shortbread, she advises you:
• Be realistic. “Don’t expect to lose weight during the holiday season,” Setser-Legg writes. “Simply maintaining your weight is a sign of success.”
• Build in time for exercise, which can also help reduce stress. “Chances are that you have time off work, so develop a regular exercise program or pick up the pace of your current exercise schedule.”
• Incorporate healthy dishes into your holiday meal.
• Don’t skip meals. “For parties, don’t starve yourself in anticipation. You’ll likely arrive ravenous and eat everything … By eating regularly, you are less likely to overindulge.”
• Eat only until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
• Have a healthy snack before you attend a holiday party, and keep healthy snacks like fruit, vegetables and cereal bars handy.
• Watch alcohol intake. “Alcohol contains many empty calories and lowers inhibitions, leading to overeating.”
• Tell your friends and family you are trying to stay healthy when pressed to try their dishes.
Ultimately, the time is now to start “working toward a happy, healthy 2012,” Setser-Legg concludes. (Read more)
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