Gorging Your Way Through the Holidays?

Advice on how to avoid overeating

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SUNDAY, Nov. 21, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A feeling of goodwill isn't the only thing you're likely to carry around with you after the holidays; there's a good chance you'll also be lugging a few extra pounds.

But you can avoid holiday weight gain by following this advice from registered dietitians at New York-Presbyterian Hospital:

  • Plan ahead and use the "calorie bank" concept. Avoid calories the week before the holidays to give yourself a bit more calorie leeway when it's time for holiday meals and snacks.
  • Never go to a party hungry. Before you leave for a party, snack on fruit, nonfat yogurt, or vegetables. You'll be less tempted to overindulge at the party.
  • Control your surroundings. For example, never get into a conversation while you're sitting or standing beside a platter of your favorite cookies.
  • Bring a low-fat food dish to the party and share it with other guests.
  • Fill your plate with vegetables and lean protein foods. Then you can add a few small samples of high-fat foods.
  • Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you're full.
  • Devise a strategy for how you're going to handle gifts of cookies, candies, and other sweets. For example, keep one or two and give the rest away. Don't leave them out in the open, which may tempt you to binge.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption. Alcohol contains many calories, and also stimulates your appetite and reduces your willpower. Instead of alcohol you might drink seltzer or mineral water with a twist of lime, or a nonalcoholic tomato juice cocktail.
  • Don't let holiday activities get in the way of your exercise program.
  • Strive for moderation. A forkful of cheesecake is better than a whole piece.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has advice about healthy nutrition.

SOURCE: New York-Presbyterian Hospital, news release, November 2004

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