7 Tips to Keep Weight off During the Holiday Season

Healthy Food
7 Weight Control Tips. Mache Seibel

It seems the "holidays" were just here, but Thanksgiving is past and Christmas is just around the corner. We are now entering into the season of extra calories and if you are trying to control your weight, it can be dangerous.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, most people add 1 to 2 pounds annually in midlife and most of that weight gets added on between Thanksgiving and New Years. Overweight people often gain even more – closer to five pounds during this time.

And that weight gain is hard to lose, especially if you are in or around menopause.

Fortunately, weight gain isn't inevitable. Here are seven tips to help you maintain your weight:

Avoid Serving From The Table

Keeping serving trays off the table can reduce your food intake by up to 29%. Having to get up and go get the next helping makes us think harder about it and makes us think about weather or not we are really still hungry.

Control Your Sleep

Sleep is a major factor in weight control. People who get too little sleep, 5 hours or less each night, gain nearly 2½ times as much abdominal fat as those who sleep 6 to 7 hours. Before you pat yourself on the back for sleeping over 8 hours each night, research shows that adds nearly twice as much belly fat as those who sleep 6- to 7-hours.

Optimize TV Time

People who watch TV and eat at the same time tend to eat more. It's mindless and studies show that you will even eat stale popcorn while you're mindlessly watching TV or a movie.

On the other hand, we don't have to just sit there and vegetate. Something as simple as washing dishes or ironing burns 70 calories every 30 minutes. Researchers at the University of Vermont found that cutting TV time in half will burn an extra 120 calories daily – about the equivalent of half a candy bar.

Eat Slowly

People who wolf down their food eat up to 52% more before they feel full than those who chew small bites for at least 9 seconds. They are also over three times more likely to be overweight according to a study in the British Medical Journal. That's because it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain you've had enough so you get way more into your stomach. Think of chewing your food longer as Chewdaism.

Take breaks

Psychologists call this eating mindfully. Instead of living to eat, eat to live. Be present. Put down your utensils or your sandwich or that drumstick between bites. As you slowly chew your food, savor the flavor. Breathe deeply and count to 20. Take a sip of your beverage. If you're eating with others, talk to them. You'll get full and fully satisfied eating much less food.

Limit Alcohol

For many people, the holidays are a time of drink and merriment. So expect the opportunity to hoist a few more beers, eggnog, wine or hard liquor – each about 200 calories per serving, depending on what you use for mixer.

And alcohol reduces the amount of fat your body burns.

Wine 4 oz glass62 – 160 calories
1.5 oz liquor shot115 – 200 calories
Gin and tonic280 calories
Frozen creamy drink800 calories
12 oz can of beer140-200 calories
Alcohol + carbonated drink200 calories/12 oz
Eggnog + jigger of rum343 + 97 calories
Water with a splash of lime0 calories

Limit Appetizers

Appetizers are often full of calories that taste great going down, but can add 1,000 calories to your meal. If you eat an appetizer that has limited calories, you may find that your appetite at the meal is decreased. If your appetite is still cheering you on, lower intake at the actual meal or skip dessert.

If you've got questions on women's health and menopause, join me each month at AskDrMache.com for our live calls and get your most pressing questions answered.

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