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Tips to avoid holiday pounds

by Naomi Draves and Krista Lennox
Dietetic Intern, Dietetic Services
It’s about that time of year. The weather is getting colder, the days a bit shorter, and your jeans start getting a little tighter.  We have survived the Halloween candy and the turkey feast, and now we are approaching the holiday parties full of merry treats.
Studies have shown that the average American gains between 0.4-1.8 pounds per year, with about one pound weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Years. Now I know what you are thinking, one pound doesn’t seem like much, but unfortunately recent studies have shown that the weight gained during the holidays is not lost during the course of the year. What does that mean? The pounds add up! Holiday weight gain can significantly increase the likelihood of overweight and obesity in adulthood, even when just one pound is added to your weight each year.
Some tips to help you beat the holiday weight gain: watch portion sizes, use ingredient substitutions in holiday baked goods, make physical activity a priority, watch your beverages, consider your cooking methods, eat slow, and make a plan. Other tips for cutting calories include:

  • Eat slowly.  It takes 20 minutes to feel full. 
  • Don’t starve yourself before eating out. You will likely eat more if you do.
  • Socialize away from the food at parties so you don’t nibble without thinking.
  • When cooking, substitute non-fat yogurt for cream, skim milk for whole milk, and broth for butter when sautéing food.
  • Always watch your portions.

Last Worksite Screening for 2009
Register at for the Dec. 10 worksite screening to be held at Hollings Cancer Center.

Friday, Dec. 4, 2009

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.