Thursday, December 1, 2011

Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

The temperatures are falling, so we’re spending more time indoors. We’re eating heavier foods, trading fresh salads for warm soups. We’re turning on our ovens and baking goodies for the holidays. Maintaining our weight seems hopeless!

How do we avoid the annual weight gain this winter? Here are some tips from the Cleveland Clinic to keep in mind:

Make sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level. When compared to other snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and tons more nutrients. What’s more – the fiber in fruits and vegetables fill you up faster than traditional snack foods. Pack your refrigerator with bags of cut-up vegetables and whole or cut-up fruits. Grab a bag while on the go or at work. Make a pact with yourself that you’ll eat your five-a-day before you snack on any cookies or other holiday treats. You’re sure to take in fewer calories overall.

While you can’t control every situation, you can control how much food goes into your mouth. If you are constantly bombarded with holiday parties and displays of desserts or candies you can still effectively help prevent overeating and weight gain. One way is the one-a-day method. Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season. Remember that you may have to compensate for it later in the day by reducing your total caloric intake or by burning a few extra calories while exercising. If you aren’t confronted with holiday foods that day, just skip your one-a-day – but don’t compensate and double-up on your serving the next day.

Before you go to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack such as a serving of your favorite fruit, fat-free yogurt or a low-fat, whole grain granola bar. When you arrive at the party, you won’t be craving hors d’oeuvres.

One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, sustained aerobic activity. To burn off those extra calories, kick up your exercise. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes. If you exercise three times a week, move it up to five times a week.

The library has some great resources to help you exercise during the cold winter months. Come browse our selection of fitness DVD’s. We have a great variety. For the guys, borrow one of our Gilad dvd’s. He’s tough, and you will work up a sweat. The moves are uncomplicated, good old-fashioned calisthenics.

If you like less strenuous exercise, try a Leslie Sansone indoor walking dvd. It’s the perfect way to walk when the sidewalks are covered in ice, or it’s too dark to walk outside safely.

We also have kickboxing, dance aerobics, circuit training, belly dancing; so many ways to get your body moving! Indulge in your favorite treat, but combine it with exercise, and you won’t dread stepping on the scale.

You can read the full Cleveland Clinic article here.

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