Christmas weight gain

When Scott Calvin (played by Tim Allen) wakes up one morning in the holiday movie The Santa Clause, something isn’t right.

His pajamas are tighter. His belly is bigger. He thinks there’s something wrong with the bathroom mirror and scale.

You’re not going to gain 40 pounds overnight like the guy in the red suit. In fact, research shows the average adult only gains about 1 pound during the holidays.1

That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Here’s the problem. Most keep packing on extra pounds year after year. And that starts to add up to 5…10…20…30 pounds or more.

It’s one reason 73 percent of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can still enjoy the holidays without tipping the scale in the wrong direction. Enjoy the food, family time, shopping, travel, and all the other things that make the holidays special to you.

If you want to prevent holiday weight gain, here’s a few things you can do…

1. Be active at least 30 minutes a day

Try brisk walking, weight lifting, or aerobics. Or dust off that piece of exercise equipment and actually use it.

Here’s a few more ways to make this happen.

  • Get up and go for a walk after dinner.
  • Take a walk on your lunch break.
  • Or park in no-man’s land when you go to the mall or grocery store and get in some extra steps.

2. Eat healthy foods and portion sizes

Keep it simple. Most of your food should come from fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds.

Drink more water. And avoid or limit red meats, high-calorie drinks, fast food, and desserts.

If you’re going out to eat during the holidays, here’s some food for thought.

In a recent study, researchers found that 92 percent of all restaurant meals contain more calories in a single meal than health experts recommend.2

Try this: Order from the kids menu or the senior menu for smaller portion sizes. Split an entree with someone, or put half your meal in a to-go box for later.

3. Start the day with a healthy breakfast

Based on data from the National Weight Control Registry, people who lose weight and keep it off eat breakfast daily.

But that doesn’t mean you chow down on holiday cookies or donuts and gulp down frothy hot chocolate or coffee loaded with creamer for breakfast

Eating a healthy breakfast can help you avoid overeating later in the day. Try starting your day with a morning breakfast of whole-grain toast or steel-cut oats, fruit, or Greek yogurt.

4. Track your progress

Weigh yourself every day. Too much? Maybe not.

In a recent study published in Obesity, researchers found that stepping on the scale every day during the holidays helped people prevent weight gain, make better food choices, and be more active.3

Think about it this way. Stepping on the scale is a simple way to keep your choices in check during the holidays.

Another way to track your progress…keep a food diary.

Write down what you eat use a mobile app to record your weight, food choices, and exercise. It’s a good way to help you be accountable, and remember to make healthy choices.

5. Be consistent

Eat right and stay active, even on the weekends.

If you overeat at a holiday party or skip exercise, because you got too busy, it’s no big deal.

Don’t beat yourself up about it. Hit restart and get back on track the next day.

Start now and give yourself the gift of good health this holiday season.

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