10 tips to avoid hol­i­day weight gain

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - BUSINESS -

This time of year, it’s nearly im­pos­si­ble to avoid par­ties bulging with buf­fets of tasty food and drink. But all that in­dulging can have a down­side: hol­i­day weight gain.

But there are ways to avoid this trap. Con­sumer Re­ports rec­om­mends th­ese sim­ple strate­gies:

1. Be re­al­is­tic. In one hol­i­day weight gain study, 15 per­cent of par­tic­i­pants in­di­cated they were try­ing to shed pounds be­tween Thanks­giv­ing and the new year. But they ended up gain­ing the same amount of weight as oth­ers who were not try­ing to slim down. A bet­ter plan is to aim to put off weight-loss ef­forts un­til af­ter Jan. 1.

2. Hy­drate. Try to get in at least eight glasses of wa­ter a day. Your body eas­ily con­fuses be­ing hun­gry and be­ing thirsty, so drink­ing wa­ter reg­u­larly will keep you from eat­ing when what you re­ally need is to drink.

3. Limit your al­co­hol in­take. Al­co­hol calo­ries add up fast. A 12-ounce beer has 140 calo­ries, and a 5-ounce glass of wine has 100. Con­sumer Re­ports rec­om­mends stick­ing to just a drink or two, or be­ing the des­ig­nated driver and avoid­ing al­co­hol al­to­gether.

4. Choose your glass wisely. A 2013 study found peo­ple pour 12 per­cent more wine into wider glasses than into nar­rower glasses. And some­times they over­pour white wines be­cause the lack of con­trast be­tween the wine and the glass makes it harder to see when to stop.

5. Eat slowly. Some re­search

shows that slow eaters tend to eat less food. Try swal­low­ing each mouth­ful be­fore tak­ing the next bite and chat with a table­mate in be­tween fork­fuls.

6. Be­ware the buf­fet.

“Think of a buf­fet as a menu in phys­i­cal form,” says Karen Collins, R.D., nutri­tion ad­viser to the Amer­i­can In­sti­tute for Can­cer Re­search in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. “You wouldn’t order one of ev­ery­thing.” Scan the choices be­fore you pick up a plate. Or take smaller por­tions of a va­ri­ety of dishes.

7. Outsmart the food push­ers. Pres­sure from hosts to eat beyond your fill is a com­mon chal­lenge at the hol­i­day ta­ble. One way to keep from over­stuff­ing your­self? Ask for sec­onds. Se­ri­ously! Just take small por­tions, says Brian Wansink, Ph.D., au­thor of the book “Slim by De­sign: Mind­less Eat­ing

So­lu­tions for Ev­ery­day Life.” Wansink has found that hosts re­call who asked for sec­ond helpings but that they don’t no­tice the serv­ing size.

8. Be se­lec­tive, not rigid. Don’t de­clare all party food off-lim­its. In­stead, Con­sumer Re­ports rec­om­mends be­ing hon­est with your­self about what

foods you’re re­ally look­ing for­ward to and en­joy­ing those in mod­er­ate amounts.

9. Don’t starve your­self be­fore hol­i­day events. Show­ing up to a party rav­en­ous is likely to cause you to eat too much. Take the edge off your hunger be­fore you leave home by eat­ing small, low-calo­rie meals.

10. Stay ac­tive. Ex­er­cise is prob­a­bly the first thing to fall off your todo list dur­ing the hol­i­days, but it’s your best ally in the bat­tle against hol­i­day weight gain – as well as hol­i­day stress and de­pres­sion. To learn more, visit Con­sumerRe­ports.org.

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