December 29, 1997
Holiday pounds: easy come...not-so-easy go
from the American Institute for Cancer Research
The average person puts on an extra 5 to 11 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to several sources. That's enough to make even Santa blush! It's no wonder the first thing we want to do on Jan. 2nd is rid ourselves of the excess fat and the guilt. But instead of dealing with holiday weight gain after New Year's, the smarter, less frustrating time to handle those extra pounds is before they even appear. Losing weight during the holiday season is unrealistic for most people and often just sets them up for failure. It's usually wiser to focus on maintaining your weight or limiting weight gain to just one or two pounds during these palate-tempting weeks.
The American Institute for Cancer Research has some helpful hints for avoiding the notorious "winter waistline." One important tip that many people ignore is not to skip meals before cocktail parties and large family dinners. All too often we overhear someone say, "I'm starving. I haven't eaten anything all day," as they head to the buffet table. Over-hunger often leads to over-eating, and over-eating, well, we all know what that leads to. Instead, snack on low-fat foods before the party, like pretzels, fruits, raw veggies or even half of a turkey sandwich. This way, when you hit the buffet table, you'll be more likely to eat only the things you really want to try, instead of everything in sight.
Something else to remember during those holiday gatherings is to focus on the color and aroma of holiday buffets and feasts, and less on filling up your plate. Instead of relishing what you plan to load on your plate next, enjoy what you're eating at the time, and enjoy it slowly. Remember, it takes some time for the body to tell the brain that it's full, so mingle with other party guests after your first helping. Then, if you're still craving something, go back for it. The familiar phrase, "everything in moderation," is especially true when it comes to holiday eating. Denying ourselves the holiday goodies may leave us feeling deprived, resulting in over-indulgence and weight gain. As long as we stick to average-size portions and don't go back for seconds or thirds, eating some of our favorite foods of the season should remain enjoyable and guilt-free.
For a free booklet, Celebrate Good Health, with delicious, low fat recipes for special occasions, send a self-addressed, stamped business-sized envelope (55 cent postage) to the American Institute for Cancer Research, Dept. GH, P.O. Box 97167, Washington, DC 20090-7167.