Employee & Community Health

Hold that waistline over the holidays!

12/1/2016 by Rose Prissel, MS, RDN, LD

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Whew! You made it through Halloween (all that candy!) and Thanksgiving (all that pie!) with just a teeny uptick in your weight. Great! But there's still a bevy of holidays between now and January 2. You can keep those holiday pounds from piling up by making a resolution to maintain, not gain weight over the next month. 

Recent research has shown that weight gained between Halloween and New Year's can take more than five months to lose. So don't wait for New Year's to make a weight loss or maintenance resolution. It's easier to avoid holiday pounds than to lose them after they happen,. 

Here are five dos and don'ts for holding your waistline over the next month:

  • Don't feel deprived. You can still enjoy all your favorite festive foods. Just keep Portions in mind (no, a 16-oz. bag is not a "portion" of holiday M&Ms). Before heading to the buffet table, drink a glass of water to fill you up a bit. Balance "heavy" hors d'oeuvres with fruit kabobs, kale chips or veggies. 
  • Do be choosy/mindful eating. Pick the good stuff, go for quality, not quantity. If you take a bite, and it's not what you like or expected, leave it on your plate. 
  • Don't become a couch potato. Keep not only the pounds, but also stress and the holiday blues at bay by sticking to your regular activity routine, whether it's a yoga class, swimming laps, taking a walk, shooting baskets at the gym or strapping on the cross-country skis. 
  • Do watch your alcohol intake. Those calories from wine, beer and cocktails add up. For example, a 12 oz. glass of beer has 150 calories, while dark beer has 168. A five-ounce glass of red wine clocks in at 105 calories; a glass of white has 100. Switch to sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Need extra incentive to sip a non-alcoholic beverage? Volunteer to be the designated driver. 
  • Don't skip the scale. Although it might be scary to step on the scale, it's the only way to know you're holding the line. 

Rose Prissel, MS, RDN, LD, is a dietitian at Mayo Clinic. She has 29 years of experience working in pediatric and adult nutrition, with a focus on preventive care, sports nutrition and weight management.