The Christmas holidays can lead to weight gain and weight loss can be quite challenging. Studies show that during the holidays it is not uncommon for people to gain anywhere from one to ten pounds. While many people want to blame it on the turkey, the reality is that holiday weight gain is largely due to the sauces, sweets and spirits.
If you have set weight loss goals for yourself or are fighting obesity, the holidays can be a frightening prospect; food is on display everywhere. In many cases, it is the same food that is available to us every day, but dressed up to look more inviting and easier to access. Whether it is in a window display, at the office, at mom’s house or at a social gathering, holiday treats always seem to be impossible to ignore.
Sauces and holiday weight gain
The holidays are a time for special sauces, such as cranberry sauce or gravy added to your turkey, and brandy sauce or white sauce drizzled over your Christmas pudding. You can forget about any notions of weight loss when these items are on the menu. If anything, holiday weight gain is more likely.
Cranberry sauce that comes in a can is highly processed and is packed with sugar. There is about 90 calories in just one serving of cranberry sauce, and it is unlikely that most people will have just one serving. Food research indicates that the majority of holiday revelers consume two to three servings with their meal.
Christmas pudding, or plum pudding as some people call it, originated in England. For many people the holidays and this heavy pudding simply go hand-in-hand. In other words, Christmas just would not be Christmas without it. Furthermore, Christmas pudding is just not Christmas pudding without the sauce. The frightening part: the holiday treat, sauce and all, can be as much as 700 calories.
The king of holiday sauces is gravy. Homemade gravy is essentially fat mixed with bleached flour. Depending on whether the gravy comes in a can or is homemade, it is anywhere from 80 to 170 calories per serving.
Sweets and holiday weight gain
It seems like during every Thanksgiving and Christmas season in American the skies are raining sweets. You really can’t go anywhere without being offered a cookie, candy, square or piece of fancy looking cake. As tempting as it might be to try them all, experts at the Cleveland Clinic warn that on an average day a woman should only consume 100 calories of sugar, and a man should only have 150. Eating too much sugar leads to serious health issues, such as obesity. Nutritionists point out that obesity isn’t the only problem, though. They say people who eat too much sugar tend to eat less nutritious food, such as fresh fruit and vegetables.
Spirits and holiday weight gain
During the holidays we all like to raise a glass, but some people tend to nibble and drink, and nibble and drink. Before you know it, the evening is over and they realize they spent the entire time snacking and consuming alcohol. Whiskey, vodka, gin…it can lead to a lot of holiday weight gain. A better alternative would be a light beer, one glass of wine or champagne, or offer to be the designated driver if you are working on a weight loss program.
Useful tips to help you enjoy the holidays and prevent weight gain
We should all be able to enjoy ourselves during the holidays without jeopardizing our health. Here are some suggestions from doctors and nutritionists.
- Drink lots of water to provide a feeling of fullness.
- Eat a light snack, such as fruit, before heading out to a holiday party, so that you aren’t as hungry when you arrive.
- Stick to a schedule of healthy eating and exercise.
- Reduce your alcohol intake – there are plenty of hidden calories that can add up quickly in alcoholic beverages. Furthermore, consuming alcohol makes you snack more.
- Eat smaller, healthier meals prior to attending a party so you don’t over indulge.
- Set goals and stick to a food or activity diary.
- Eat more protein and fiber as it helps keep you fuller, longer.
- Take time to chew your food, so your brain realizes when you are full.
- Stay active during the holidays.
By following these helpful tips you can help combat holiday weight gain and not make weight loss a top New Year’s resolution for once.
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