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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
It is a seemingly endless time of temptation that starts with Halloween candy and
goes through Thanksgiving stuffing, Christmas dinners, New Year’s toasts, Super Bowl
chips and dips and Valentine’s Day chocolates. That’s about four months of feasting.
When we feast without control, we set ourselves up for bad patterns, ill health and
Over the year, weight gain is usually attributed to holiday weight gain. So, it is
going to be essential to make sure you maintain your weight during the holiday season
As temperatures turn cold, our appetite increases for high-calorie, high-carbohydrate
foods—stews, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese. When we give in to those cravings
for sugary, starchy foods, blood sugar spikes and then falls, setting up a cycle that
keeps the appetite in motion.
Winter also cuts into physical activity. Since exercise helps increase serotonin
levels, if we’re not exercising, our appetite increases, and ultimately that means
we’re eating more and moving less—a disaster plan for weight gain.
Maintaining weight is the balance of energy. If you take in more calories than you
burn in physical activity, you store the extra energy around your body in fat and
weight gain. To maintain weight, you have to balance the energy you eat with the
energy you burn. This, of course, demands that we regularly exercise.
If your weight gain can be contributed to the holidays, be sure to exercise during
the holidays. Add physical activity to your daily routine, such as taking stairs,
parking at the back of the parking lot and dance if the holiday party includes dancingIf you can schedule holiday food celebrations, make them at normal meal times. Choosing
a smaller plate can help you from over-filling the large plate; when your little plate
is full, you will readily see that you have a lot of food. When there is space on
a plate, we are tempted to continue to load it.
Start your meal with soup or salad so that you’re not tempted to eat second helpings
of cornbread dressing and mashed potatoes with gravy. Choose more vegetables and
if you have dessert, choose angel food cake, ginger bread or fruit. If you can’t
pass up the brownies and chocolate cake, have a much smaller piece than you normally
Some people find it helpful to eat some lower calorie foods before attending the party
so that they have already eaten and can make themselves limit choices at the festivity. It
is much easier to keep off weight than to take off weight.
If you can practice awareness, manage your stress and emotions and plan in advance
you can conquer the holiday weight gain. Be realistic, it is best to maintain weight
during this period of time instead of trying to lose weight. Keep in mind that celebrations
are really about family and friends—not food.
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or
visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse.
Serve a healthy and flavorful appetizer by making Orange Cranberry Delight and serving
it in the middle of a platter or assorted wheat crackers.
By Carla Due County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Miller County Cooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 email@example.com