Ham, cookies, pie, candy, fruitcake and turkey. It is no wonder that the Christmas season is the time of weight gain. A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that on average, Americans gain about one pound of excess body weight during the holiday season. Although this may not sound like much, this same study discovered that extra pound is generally not lost in the upcoming year. These pounds continue to add up, resulting in an additional 10 to 15 pounds of body weight being carried around in just a few short years.
The following tips can help you to watch your waistline during the holiday season and avoid excess weight gain.
Eat what you want, in moderation
You do not have to steer clear of all of your favorite foods in order to avoid holiday weight gain. Eat what you like, just in moderation. The holiday season is a time to consume foods that are not normally eaten throughout the rest of the year. If you want to have that slice of pecan pie, go ahead and eat it. However, you should stop at one slice. There is no need to eat an entire pie just because it is a holiday.
Get some fresh air
Although it is cold outside, step outside for a few minutes to help burn a few extra calories. Your body burns more calories in cold weather than in warm weather because it is fighting to keep your body temperature stabilized. Going for a brisk walk in the crisp winter air can help burn off a few extra calories from some of that rich holiday food you have been eating.
Watch out for calories in beverages
According to a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, over half of the United States population above the age of two years drinks sugary beverages on a daily basis. The American Heart Association states that an adult should drink no more than 24 ounces of soda per week, and many adults drink more than this in a single day. So, although you are trying to be careful to not gain extra pounds by refusing that second slice of pecan pie, take a moment to think about what you are drinking. Beverages such as punch and wine spritzers contain more calories than you think.
Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption
A Gallup poll found that the alcohol consumption of adults in the United States is significantly higher this year than last. This can help explain why Americans have rapidly expanding waistlines. One of the main culprits is beer. Dark beers contain roughly 200 calories per 12 ounces and light beers contain around 100.
As far as calorie content, wine is worse than beer, containing 100 calories in only 5 ounces. Hard liquor such as vodka and whiskey contain 65 calories per ounce. These calories can add up rapidly when you begin enjoying a few mixed dreams at a holiday party. A good rule of thumb is to drink one glass of water between alcoholic drinks to help keep your calorie consumption to a minimum.
Although the above tips cannot guarantee you will not gain weight during the holiday season, they can help you become more aware of calorie pitfalls.