UMC says "Holidays don't have to equal weight gain" - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/23/09

UMC says "Holidays don't have to equal weight gain"

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - As we hit the holiday season and feast on all its trimmings, there's no wonder the average American gains five pounds or more between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to the American Medical Association.

From Thanksgiving through the last drop of champagne at New Year's, healthy, sensible eating habits are all but forgotten. Regular exercise is often put aside during family visits and holiday travel.

But, you can avoid gaining weight, said Amy Ashmore, MS, RD, LD, University Medical Center chief clinical dietitian.

"With a few simple tips, the holidays still can be enjoyed to the fullest without putting on those extra pounds," Ashmore said. "The key is moderation and sticking to some sort of exercise, even during a disrupted routine."

It's not nearly as hard as you think, she added. Keep these things in mind this holiday season:

  • Eat a good breakfast that includes protein. Protein takes longer to digest and helps you feel full longer. So you're less likely to fill up during those hors d'eouvres parties.
  • Don't graze – put your choices on one plate. And when it's gone, be done!
  • Remember that alcohol contains a lot more calories than you might think. Be sure to drink in moderation.
  • Don't give up your exercise regimen. Make a pact with family or friends to walk each day or find some other fun way to include exercise, no matter how short!
  • Consider simple, healthy changes in some of your holiday recipes. For example, use almond slivers instead of the greasy, fried onion topping on green bean casserole. Also, serve holiday gravies and sauces on the side.
  • Remember to eat your holiday meals slowly. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to tell the stomach you're full. If you stuff yourself in 10-15 minutes, you'll only be miserable later.
  • Don't forget that vegetables and low-fat dips are a great treat at parties. Offer to bring veggie offerings whenever possible. They're good for you, and they don't pack on the pounds. Unsalted pecans and other nuts are also a good alternative, in moderation.
  • Pies, cakes and sweet treats of all kinds abound during the holidays. There's no harm in enjoying them. But, don't eat an entire piece of each! Small portions are key, and make sure you leave room from your main meal.

"It's hard during the holidays to think only about the taste and not the hunger," Ashmore said. "You've got to be cognizant about separating the two! And remind yourself, it'll be so much easier for your New Year's resolution not to be to have to take off what you put on during the holidays."

UMC Health System is the leader in comprehensive healthcare delivery in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico. Founded in 1978, it is home to the region's only level I trauma center, the Timothy J. Harnar Burn Center, the UMC Heart Center, the UMC Southwest Cancer Treatment and Research Center and the UMC Children's Hospital.

©2009 KCBD NewsChannel 11. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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