5 Ways to Fight the Bulge this Holiday Season

Every year, the holiday season tends to mean multiple gatherings with family and friends, large and elaborate meals and sugary treats combined with colder weather and less time for exercise. This mixture can lead to one thing: weight gain. Although it’s impossible to avoid the family, friends and food (and who would want to?), it’s not impossible to avoid packing on the pounds this holiday season.

Obesity and being overweight are not uncommon in the United States. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 68.8 percent of all adult Americans are either overweight or obese. The devastation comes into play when we consider how obesity contributes as a risk factor for 5 of the top 10 causes of death in the United States: heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and kidney disease.

Knowing all of this, it’s important to note that holiday weight gain often affects people of all lifestyles, even the active ones. Studies have shown that slow calorie-burners and fast calorie-burners both tend to put on weight during the November and December months.

Regardless of this, it’s possible to use smart choices and a few tips to combat these statistics. Here are some things you can do to help fight that growing bulge this year.

 Tip #1: Recycle edible gifts to avoid eating them.

Do you unwrap armfuls of edible gifts from family or friends each year? Feeling the pressure to eat every edible present is an easy way to pack on the pounds. Instead, re-gift some of those goodies to others, especially those who don’t normally receive holiday gifts. Do you know of an organization accepting baked goods or food donations to give to the less-fortunate? Check with places like the Salvation Army to see if they accept edible donations.

    Tip #2: Don’t go to a party hungry.

Research has shown that one easy way to eat more than you should is to show up to a holiday gathering with an empty stomach. Contrary to this, if you eat a snack before arriving at the party, you’ll be less likely to pile the calorie-filled foods and desserts on your plate.

Tip #3: Mingle with the talkers, not the eaters.

If you normally hang around the people who constantly nibble on foods, you’re more likely to join in the fun. If you hang out with people who are talking, laughing and enjoying conversation without much eating, however, you’re also more likely to do the same and eat less.

    Tip #4: Eat with your non-dominant hand.

Eating with the hand you don’t normally use makes you more aware of what you’re putting into your mouth. This means you’ll be less likely to eat mindlessly, which can keep you from overloading on unnecessary calories.

   Tip #5: Crack a joke or two.

Wondering what humor has to do with keeping the pounds off? Joking around is connected to the release of serotonin, a chemical in the body that reduces appetite. So, the more you smile, laugh and joke around with friends or family, the less hungry you’ll feel, and the less likely you’ll be to overeat.

Avoiding holiday weight gain isn’t easy; it takes motivation, determination and perseverance. The good news lies in the many benefits of fighting the bulge that will make it all worth it. Healthy lifestyles are great ways to avoid weight gain not just during the holidays, but all year-round. These lifestyles can bring peace of mind and reassurance from knowing you’re doing your best to keep your risk of illness low.

Preventive health screenings can also provide peace of mind from knowing the state of your health. Make the most out of your ability to control your health; fight the holiday bulge, and lower your risk of developing dangerous health conditions today.

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