Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weight Management through the Holidays - here we go!

The holiday season officially starts with Halloween and ends with a bang (and a jiggle and a wiggle) on New Year's Day. SCAN's Pulse magazine* reports that about half of a person's yearly weight gain occurs during these holiday months and some people can gain nearly 9 pounds during this time!

WHY? Well, the main culprits of weight gain include:
  • lack of portion control and just plain eating too much (think Thanksgiving Day and Holiday parties)
  • sugar-sweetened beverage consumption (think about all those alcoholic drinks as well..lots of Calories)
  • eating out (at Grandma's, parties, restaurants, etc.)
  • lack of exercise (it's cold, dark, and you are busy Christmas shopping, cooking, running errands after work)
  • stress  ('nuf said!)
All of these obstacles make weight management seem almost impossible this time of year. BUT, IT IS DOABLE! Let's start with Halloween.

Tricks to Avoid Overeating the Halloween Treats 
 (as previously posted in last year's blog...one of my most popular blogs!)
  1. Start at the store. Avoid buying the Halloween candies you love. For me, it is Kit Kat or Reese's PB cups, so I buy other types of candies to hand out at the door. After the big night is over, I won't have a bunch of leftover candies that I know I will eat.
  2. Out of sight, out of mind. Avoid setting the big bowl of Halloween loot on the kitchen counter where you can easily walk by and eat several pieces without even realizing it. Put the candy in the pantry or cupboard, and instead put sliced fruit or veggies on the counter.
  3. Help friends & coworkers too. Avoid bringing all your extra candy to your workplace. I am a big advocate of workplace wellness. They too are probably watching their weight or trying to be healthy, so no need to sabotage their efforts. If you really want to get rid of the candy, just throw it out. Yes, it may be wasteful, but it's better than you and your coworkers being "Waist-FULL". 
  4. Be real. Allow yourself some treats, but do so in moderation! Make a deal with yourself about how many treats you will allow yourself each day and account for those calories in your daily calorie plan or workout schedule. 
  5. If you do go overboard on Halloween treats, DO NOT beat yourself up about it! Avoid the negative thoughts about yourself. It doesn't mean that you are "weak" or "worthless".  Avoid the all-or-nothing talk, like "I should just start my diet over again after the New Year."  Try to stay on track. Just own it, move on, and stay focused one day at a time.
  6. Use physical activity to help you through the Halloween munchies. Below are samples of some common Halloween candies and their calorie contents. As a guideline:  To "burn off" an additional 200 calories of Halloween treats you need to: walk 40 minutes, run 20 minutes, bicycle 25 minutes, or swim 25 minutes (based on a 150 lb. person). Walking the kids around the neighborhood on Halloween night is a good start!
Candy Corn, 22 pieces = 140 calories
Little Fun Size Bars of Nestle’s Crunch, Snicker's, Milky Way, Kit Kat, Hershey's chocolate, Reese's PB Cup, Butterfinger, Twix, Almond Joy, or similar = 70-100 calories each
Peanut M&M’s – 2 Fun Size Packs = 180 calories
M&M’s – 2 Fun Size Packs = 140 calories
York Peppermint Pattie – 1 pattie = 70 calories
Milk Duds – 1 treat size box = 40 calories
SweetTarts – 1 treat size pack = 50 calories
1 Tootsie Pop – 1 pop = 60 calories
1 Tootsie Roll – 1 small roll = 13 calories
Twizzlers – 1 treat size pack= 45 calories
Happy Holidays, and remember, you can do this!
*Sports, Cardiovascular, and Wellness Nutrition group of the American Dietetic Association
SCAN website