Tuesday, November 29, 2011

How to Prevent that Extra Few Pounds in January

It’s the eating season. We’re all familiar with it: it begins with a daily dip in the candy dish starting on Halloween and ends abruptly February 15 with a bad chocolate hangover and an extra five, flabby pounds.

It's been reported that nearly half of us gain one to two pounds each holiday season and about 10 percent of us gain five or more pounds due to overeating and under exercising this time of year. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

“Enjoying the holidays and staying true to good habits don’t have to be mutually exclusive,” said
Fauquier Health’s Registered Dietician Aren Dodge. Dodge offers the following “Top Ten” Healthy Holiday Commandments to keep you feeling and looking great straight through to spring break:

10. Thou shalt never leaveth the house hungry. Eat a small snack like an apple with a large glass of water before leaving the house and pack healthy snacks in your handbag. It will prevent you from attacking the food court, the buffet, or the hors d’oeuvres as soon as you arrive at your holiday destination.

9. Thou shalt partaketh of the dessert “sampler.” Instead of getting a serving of one large dessert, choose a bite-size portion or sampler and savor every morsel.

8. Thou shalt taketh easy on the adult beverages. Mixed drinks, beer and wine can pack a walloping 100 to 150 calories each. Try staggering a glass of water between drinks. You won’t get tipsy as fast, you’ll stay full and hydrated, and you won’t derail your daily calorie count.

7. Thou shalt chooseth wisely at the buffet, selecting protein and green veggies, and staying away from puff pastries, breaded items, heavy cream-based or cheese-laden dishes.

6. Thou shalt never skippeth breakfast. Eat it every day. Eating breakfast actually keeps your metabolism going, and staves off hunger longer if you include some protein like a few hard-boiled egg whites with oatmeal or a yogurt and fruit parfait.

5. Thou shalt resisteth the urge to “save room” all day for a big meal at night. Continue to space your food intake evenly over the course of the day, eating smaller, balanced meals throughout the day.

4. Thou shalt strappeth on sneakers for holiday shopping and errands and use that time to get some exercise. Park your car furthest from the store entrance and walk the distance. Walk up the escalators or take stairs. Every little bit helps.

3. Thou shalt maintaineth a consistent bed time. A good night’s sleep, such as seven to eight hours for an adult, is actually one of the best ways to maintain your health. Sleep actually helps maintain your immune levels and it prevents late night snacking.

2. Thou shalt listeneth to thine stomach. Avoid overstuffing yourself beyond comfortable, (maybe even into painful) by pacing your portions and stopping once you are full.
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1. Thou shalt washeth thine hands like crazy - every time you enter your house and before eating anything. Hum your favorite holiday tune as you wash to make sure you do it long enough. Washing hands is still the best way to prevent the spread of viruses like flu or the common cold.

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