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How to avoid the holiday weight gain 

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QUESTION:
How to avoid the holiday weight gain?

ANSWER:
Honey-glazed ham, eggnog, sugar cookies, apple pie…the holiday season is upon us. Over the coming weeks many of us will be faced with gatherings at work, with friends and family that will be centered around food, making it easy to gain weight and increase your waist line.  Avoiding weight gain during the holiday season can be a challenge, but it can be done with healthy eating.

 Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible – all which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and incorporating them in a way that works for you. Even during this season, when chow tends to take a front seat at gatherings, it’s important to choose the types of foods that improve your health and avoid or minimize the types that raise your risk for such illnesses as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

 Healthy eating begins with learning how to “eat smart.” It's not just what you eat, but how you eat.  Maintain a balance between your calorie intake and calorie expenditure—that is, don't eat more food than your body uses.  To do this, keep portions moderate, especially high-calorie foods.  This means you can still enjoy grandma’s triple fudge almond cake, just be mindful of the slice you take and resist the inevitable second helping.  It is also important to drink more water, a vital part of a healthy diet. Our bodies are about 75% water. Water helps flush our systems, especially the kidneys and bladder, of waste products and toxins.  Finally, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes.  These foods are high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, low in fat, and free of cholesterol.  They will help keep you feeling full and help reduce the desire to overindulge.

 You can enjoy your favorite sweets and fried foods in moderation, as long as they are an occasional part of your overall healthy diet. Food is a great source of pleasure, and pleasure is good for the heart – even if those french fries aren’t!  A healthy diet improves your energy and feeling of well-being while reducing your risk of many diseases. Adding regular physical activity and exercise will make sensible eating work even better for keeping your weight in check.

 Although holiday weight gain is a reality for many people, following these few simple strategies can help avoid those extra holiday pounds without shunning the festivities.  Remember that moderation is the key to calorie control.  If you eat more than you had planned, get back on track the next day and set realistic diet and exercise goals for a healthier New Year! 

 MEDDAC-AK is here to help you maintain your healthy lifestyle.  If you have any questions about helping control your weight, talk to your primary care manager or contact Arctic Health Link on Fort Wainwright (361-4148). At MEDDAC-AK our #1 priority is providing you and your family quality care with quality caring.


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