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How to Avoid Overeating Over the Holidays

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Most people gain 3 to 5 pounds over the holidays. After the holidays one of the reasons many people become depressed is due to their out of shape bodies. Waiting until the New Year to shed a few pounds usually finds you carrying the additional weight you gained during the holidays into spring. By planning your holidays to include exercise and healthy choices, you don’t have to gain weight and you can still have a wonderful holiday.

Why does overeating happen more during the holidays?

  1. Variety brings back emotional memories, images and feelings.
  2. The holidays come only once a year and are stressful…food is comforting for many.
  3. When we are stressed, upset or feeling lonely sugar can give us a high.
  4. Food is associated with good friends, parties and feeling connected.

How do you avoid overeating?

  1. Before a party eat something hot. Things such as soup are wise choices so your tummy will be full.
  2. Avoid over drinking…in most cases over drinking causes overeating in that order.
  3. Make the holidays more about relationships than food.
  4. Try a small variety of many things instead of eating a whole pan of one thing.
  5. Exercise at least 10 minutes each day. This helps you relieve stress and is much healthier than food.
  6. Eating won’t help you deal with a breakup, boredom, or isolation, but reaching out for a good friend will. Avoid going to parties alone and when you go with someone ask them to help you limit your intake.
  7. Eat until you are comfortable and then stop. Overeating is hard on your heart, liver and stomach.
  8. Journal your feelings so you won’t have to eat them.
  9. Learn to say “NO” to someone who is pushing food on you.
  10. Bring your lunch to work and limit yourself to one holiday goodie in the work kitchen.

Preparing yourself and your family to focus more attention on the meaning of the holidays and less on food served will strengthen your family’s communication and bring a deeper sense of gratitude for one another.

–Mary Jo Rapini

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