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Is Holiday Weight Gain a Myth or Reality?

~ As Appeared in the December 2017 Issue of North Shore News ~

A: Reality! While the average calories consumed per person per average day is between 2,000 to 2,500, Americans consume more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day and about 7,000 calories at the Christmas meal. Rumors fly that people gain about 10 pounds over the holidays, but research published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates it’s closer to 1.3 pounds.

Unfortunately, those extra pounds can take more than five months to lose. A pound or so may seem minimal, but pounds add up easily unless you work to lose them. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the festive holiday food and drink. The trick may be to keep eating to the holiday itself — not the season. Knowing that temptation is around the corner is important to prepare for your worst temptations — if you want both pecan and pumpkin pie, take a tiny slice of each instead of a full serving, and after eating, take a walk. Portion control is a powerful way to avoid the extra pounds. Other tips include avoid snacking- these calories add up very quickly. Remain active throughout the holiday season. Focus on increasing fiber and drink more water and fewer beverages high in calories or sugar. Use a smaller plate and try to avoid going for seconds (or thirds!). It also helps to have a buddy that is also trying to be mindful during this time of year. Don’t give in to loose clothes – wearing something more form fitting can help you pay attention to what you are eating and whether your body changes week to week. Get your sleep. Avoid that day-after groggy fatigue from late nights and go to bed in time to get seven hours of sleep. I wish you a happy and healthy holiday season! Please keep the questions coming at <a href=”mailto:ask­thedoctor@kmc-hi.org”>askthedoctor@kmc-hi.org</a>