Tips to Avoid Holiday Heft

I figured it out! I figured out where all this extra weight came from! Mr. Thomas Turkey and the holiday minions brought it for me. It wasn’t all in one package though. They brought it to me little by little over the years.

ZocDoc accounts that 51 percent of our lifetime fat accumulation creeps up over the years of holidays. That's right, it happens during one 6-week period: Thanksgiving to New Year's. On average, people that are already overweight gain 5 pounds during the season, and the few of you left that are not overweight gain about 1 pound. Think you’re in the clear? Studies show that those who have maintained weight actually increase in body fat although the scale does not move.

The overall problem is that we do not lose that additional weight during the year like we say we will. How often do we hear, “I start my diet January 1st!” as you jam another snowflake painted sugar cookie and latté down the gullet? And the weight adds up — on average, we put on 10 pounds from high school graduation to our late 20s. Now you don't have to blame the stork for the extra baby weight — blame some of it on the elves! And no men, you didn’t gain weight solely because you stopped playing high school football. You watch the pros play ball as you stuff your face with wings and wash them down with beer.

With this being said, how do we not give ourselves a coronary for Christmas? We all know that as calories go in they must be burned off. The tendency is to exercise less and eat more over the holidays. See the conundrum already? Here are three simple tips to thriving during the holidays:

1. First, move your body.
I don't care how it happens. Be a mall walker for the holiday and enjoy charging down the strip. Wall climb at Lifetime with the kids for an afternoon activity. Change up the ladies night and try a salsa dance class, no liquor added.

2. Second, eat REAL, WHOLE FOOD.
What is real, whole food? Fruits, vegetables, whole grains; the closer to the earth, the better for you! The less processing the food goes through, the better. This does not necessarily mean butters and processed margarine. Eat the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. But, use real cranberries, not a sauce. Use real potatoes with herbs for seasonings, and not boxed potatoes. Retrain yourself, for all days of the year, that vegetables can taste good. The less refined the better. 

3. Third, eat LESS refined sugar. 
Do I really need to say much about this one? We know that the cakes, pies and cookies don't do our energy level or weight any good. What does less mean? “Eating in moderation” would mean once or twice a week, not once or twice a day.  This also includes our salted, sweetened, calorie-packed mocha. If you need a caffeine kick, try something with less or no sugar like a nice hot tea. Tea and coffee have no calories on their own.

Crystal Petrello on Twitter
Crystal Petrello
Crystal Petrello, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in Las Vegas, Nevada. She is the founder of Follow her on Twitter.