Nancy Dell: Holiday weight gain

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1. What are your best tips for preventing Holiday weight gain? I usually gain 7 pounds. 
Lee, West Springfield

The studies on how much weight people gain over the holidays varies but it is not uncommon for people to say they have gained 5 to 7 pounds. Studies do show the more you struggle with your weight, the more you gain. Thin people tend to gain nothing.

The weight gain can start with Halloween candy and go well into January as we finish up leftover holiday treats. It does not help that this time of year in New England is cold and dark so we are less active and have more time indoors to eat and try to warm up.

Here are 3 tips to avoid the holiday weight gain and still enjoy the holiday foods:

First, you can eat the special foods that you only get this time of year, Grandma’s stuffing, mom’s apple pie and home made cookies. However, make room for them by avoiding the usual foods that are not so special. Maybe you will sacrifice the bread, the salad with dressing, and the mashed potatoes if you can have those all year long. If you ate the special foods and the usual foods, you will be too full and gain weight.

Second, always stop eating at your first sign of no more hunger. Eat slowly, enjoy the food and listen to your stomach when it says you have no more hunger. Now, if you eat sweets, you may crave more once you start.

Third, to stop the craving, get some exercise that makes you sweat. You could walk, dance or clean your house. This increases your “feel good” brain chemical so you will not need the sweets to increase the feel good brain chemical.

Also, stop the craving by getting the temptations out of the house. Do not take home leftovers that you can’t control. Remember, out of sight, out of mind.