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Maintain, Don’t Gain: Take Charge of Your Weight this Holiday Season

Did you know that the average American gains 1-2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? “While this may not sound like a lot, most people never lose it, so that weight accumulates over the years,” said Amanda Shanahan, RD, Employee Wellbeing Manager, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. “By controlling holiday weight gain and adopting a healthier lifestyle, risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and lifestyle-related illnesses can be decreased. This holiday season, make a pledge to Maintain, Don’t Gain!”

Amanda suggests these tips to avoid those extra holiday pounds:

Keep Moving

Exercise can help you beat stress, boost energy and burn off all those homemade cookies. Aim for at least 30 minutes a day of exercise. If you currently aren’t active, start with 5-10 minutes and build up to 30. Any exercise is better than none. One way to make sure you are getting the exercise you need is to track it. You can use the American Heart Association’s free Activity Tracker to track your activity. Pick an activity that you enjoy, make a plan and stick to it.

Add Lots of Color

Eating lots of colorful fruits and vegetables can help with weight management. They are low in calories and loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, which helps you feel full. Try to make half of each meal vegetables and fruits.

Go Low

Swap low- or nonfat Greek yogurt for sour cream in dips, appetizers and casseroles. Instead of full-fat cheese, choose low-fat cheese. For dishes that call for lots of butter, like stuffing or sweet potatoes, use half or two-thirds the butter called for – you will cut calories without affecting the taste.

Know When to Stop

Still hungry? Remember, it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you’re full. So if you think you want second helpings, take a break for 20 minutes, then ask yourself if you’re still hungry.

Set a Goal and Celebrate Your Successes

Making exercise and healthy eating a regular habit takes commitment and planning. Set an achievable goal and then celebrate your success. Then set a new goal, and soon you will have lots of new healthy habits!

For more information on weight management, check out the CDC’s Healthy Weight website.

Erika Gruszewski

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