Getting Off Track During Holidays Doesnt Have To Derail Healthy Eating Habits Forever

Annrose M. Guarino, Merrill, Thomas A., LaFleur, Kara D.  |  12/9/2006 3:02:50 AM

Keeping your exercise plan going -- or starting a new one -- is one way to avoid holiday weight gain. See more tips in this article. (Photo copyrighted by PhotoDisc Inc. Not for download)

News You Can Use Distributed 12/11/06

The holidays can be a tough time to try to manage or lose weight, but you can keep it on track, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Dr. Annrose Guarino.

"Sometimes when the holidays are over you find yourself looking in the mirror and saying, ‘What have I done?’" Guarino says. "That’s easy to do, since the holiday office parties, family gatherings and endless sweets are not on your side."

The LSU AgCenter expert says it’s easy for people to get off track with their eating plans during the holidays, but they don’t have to be derailed forever.

"People often find themselves feeling a few pounds heavier or just plain tired, worn out and pooped after the holidays," she adds. "You can change that by moving in a healthier direction during the holidays – or by getting back on track as soon as the holidays are over."

Guarino offers these tips to help you get healthy or stay healthy during the holidays and all year long:

Step 1– Keep it healthy with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. These foods are nutrient-rich and low in fat. They will fill you up!

Step 2 – Know your diet pitfalls. If you know pecan pie is your best friend during the holidays, try sharing a slice with someone else when you have it. The taste will be there, but the calories will be cut in half!

Step 3 –Eat regular meals. Do not skip breakfast and lunch to get ready for the feast. Your best and healthiest choices will be made when you are not starving.

Step 4 – Eat moderate portions. Try a smaller plate so that when you fill it up, there will be less food on it. Work at keeping a bit of space between each of the foods on your plate when you fill it, because that also means less food on the plate.

Step 5 – Pay attention to your body signals. Slow down when you are eating to give your brain enough time to get a signal that your stomach is full. "If you rush this step, that achy, overfull, stuffed feeling is bound to get you," Guarino says.

Step 6 – Get some physical activity going. Move that body. Play hopscotch with the kids. Jump rope. Dance the waltz with your grandson. Go for an after dinner walk. Whatever you do, try not to rest on the couch right after that big holiday meal.

Step 7 – Avoid setting unreasonable goals. Maybe the holiday season is not the best time to reduce your weight. "You can work toward preventing weight gain or maintaining your regular exercise program between all the food festivities," Guarino said.

Step 8 – Reward yourself heavily for your healthy successes, but not with food or calories. Words of praise can help. Say to yourself, "You are doing great," or "I’ll ask Aunt Sue to go for a walk with me. I know I am her favorite relative." You will look and feel terrific.

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Contact: Annrose Guarino at (225) 578-1425 or aguarino@agcenter.lsu.edu
Writer: Kara LaFleur at (225) 578-2263 or klafleur@agcenter.lsu.edu
Editor: Tom Merrill at (225) 578-2263 or tmerrill@agcenter.lsu.edu

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