Control your weight during the holidays

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Tips include keeping a journal

By Theresa Howard

Here are a few tips for holiday calorie control:

Keep a weight journal

Write down your weight now. Record the time of day and what clothes you are wearing. During the holidays, it helps to be aware of how much you weigh each week so you can keep track and make adjustments before the problem gets out of hand.

500 calories per week

With all the holiday activities and parties it is easy to gain over the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. This represents an “energy deficit” where you eat more calories than you expend each day. A little too much food and inactivity can add up over time.

You can create a deficit of 500 calories per week – by eating less and by working out more. Here are a few easy examples that save 100 calories or more: switch to diet soda; consume water instead of sweetened beverages; use vinegar instead of salad dressing; eat fruit instead of cookies; choose vegetables instead of chips; choose light yogurt instead of regular yogurt; and choose smaller sizes for fast food meals and order soup and salad instead of entrées

Ways to be more active

Be mindful or working in more activity into your daily routine, such as: clean your own house, spend time walking instead of baking, walk the mall, join an exercise class, watch an exercise video, hire a personal trainer, sign up for a marathon or 5K, participate in a fitness walk, find a community program to volunteer with, spend more time working in your own kitchen instead of eating out or go for a walk at lunch.

Ways to feel less hungry

Be active – if you are busy and not sitting around, you will have less time for food.

Eat more fiber and less fat – this way you will fill up on fewer calories. One study showed that eating a low-fat salad before a meal helped participants eat fewer calories at that meal.

Eat a good breakfast – this will help you control your calorie intake and hunger throughout the day.

Eat five a day or more – filling up on plenty of fruits and vegetables will help curb hunger and calorie intake.

Review nutrition information of menus from your favorite restaurants

Go online and look for the nutrition facts information of your favorite restaurant items. This information may help you make better choices when you eat out. Or make you realize to only order those higher calorie choices once in a while, you can also split the order for portion control.

We all want to enjoy the holiday season, but if you are mindful of what you take in and expend during this time of year maybe you won’t add a weight challenge to the upcoming new year. For more on health and holiday recipes, check out http://ces.ca.uky.edu/larue click on Family and Consumer Sciences link.