Holiday Weight Management 101

Karl Lenser

The six-week holiday season is fast approaching. For many individuals, this is a challenging time if weight control is a concern. Studies over the years have shown that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is 6-8 pounds, which translates to 21,000–28,000 extra, unwanted fat calories. You would have to walk 175-230 miles to burn off those calories (120 calories/mile). 

Despite the obstacles that seem to arise daily with parties, office treats, and family gatherings, the holiday season can be a good time to implement a few simple strategies and tactics that may help you maintain your current weight and propel you into the new year on a positive note.

Here are a few tips that may help you with your battle with the holiday weight gain monster.

  • Try to avoid the “buffet/all-you-can-eat” mindset on Thanksgiving Day. Why be miserable and bloated after the meal? Practice portion control with the goal of being content and satisfied and not uncomfortable. Your mind and attitude can help you be victorious during the caloric wars that you will encounter throughout the holidays.

  • Portion control is critical every day and not just at Thanksgiving. Ask yourself, ”Do I really need this much to be content?”

  • Extra caution is suggested when going back for seconds. Remember that a piece of pie may be worth more than 400 calories!

  • Let “Eating with Moderation” be your mantra for Thanksgiving.

  • Schedule a walk or run on Thanksgiving and Black Friday mornings. You will feel better doing some form of exercise before or after meals.

  • Journal 101: Recording your workouts is powerful and becomes a great reinforcement tool that sends a positive message to your brain.

  • Weigh yourself prior to Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, and make a goal of keeping that weight through December. Claim a victory if you do maintain this weight!

  • Having a workout partner is a fantastic and effective tool to stay motivated, consistent, and accountable.

  • Enjoy the holiday parties and festivities and be realistic when attending holiday functions that are loaded with foods and beverages that are not part of your usual diet. Enjoy with moderation.

  • Designate Sunday evenings as a planning time for the upcoming week. Schedule an exercise time for each day of the week instead of “winging it.”

Managing your weight during this time of the year is definitely a challenge due to busy schedules and the seemingly unlimited supply of high-caloric foods that are readily available throughout each day.

However, with a little planning, preparation, and a “moderation mindset,” individuals can maintain their pre-Thanksgiving weight and head into the new year on a positive note. Staying active on a consistent basis and incorporating some basic diet strategies can definitely help you win the weight gain war.

This is a special column written by UA Little Rock Employee Wellness Coordinator Karl Lenser. 

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