How to prevent holiday weight gain - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

How to prevent holiday weight gain

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If you do make it to the gym, don't make it an excuse to eat junk food. If you do make it to the gym, don't make it an excuse to eat junk food.
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

If you're eating cakes, cookies, and pies while you trim the tree, it can be difficult to keep a trim waistline.

It seems everyone knows what to do, ‘eat less, workout more.' But during the holidays, how often does that actually work.

Research shows the weight you add during the holiday season, you usually don't lose. So each year, you pack on another pound or two.

Candice O'Hare, a Registered Dietitian and Lessened Dietitian with The Healthy Way at St. Francis Health and Wellness Center said there are a couple things you can do to prevent that extra weight gain.

She suggested setting a positive goal.

"Think about how many fruits and vegetables you want to have per day, think about how many minutes of physical activity you want to have, you can even think about how many glasses of water you want to get in per day," said O'Hare. "A lot of times over the holidays we think about things we want to take away from our diet, instead of things to add to it, but if we're focusing on five fruits and vegetables or even 3 fruits and vegetables because you don't get any, focus on the positive things versus things to eliminate."

She also said, while some people want to skip a meal or two early in the day, to save room for the party foods later, that logic doesn't really work.

"One of the biggest misconceptions is a lot of people try to skip breakfast, or skip lunch cause they want to save a lot of calories or later on, I would always recommend to not skip breakfast, go ahead and have your breakfast, have your lunch, take your healthy snacks with you, because a lot of times people think they'll have calories, but in reality research shows you tend to overeat, and then end up overeat and end up eating more calories for the day," said O'Hare.

O'Hare said it's important for people to plan ahead for holiday parties to make sure there's healthy food available.

"Be prepared, think about having things in the car, maybe you're the one that says I'm going to bring fruit or veggies to the holiday party, having things there that you can have, yeah you can have your cakes, you can have your candies, having the healthier food options available is a great idea as well," said O'Hare.

If you're traveling for the holidays, and tempted to eat junk food along the way, O'Hare said plan to eat healthy.

"Think about maybe planning your trip ahead so you know we're going to Wendy's and having a baked potato or salad, instead of just fly by the seat of your pants and run through McDonalds and not really have an idea of what you're going to do, kind of plan ahead so that you can get something healthy," said O'Hare.

She also suggested keeping records of what you're eating, write down what you eat.

"If you go ahead and have your piece of pecan pie at the party, chance are you're probably not going to have another one if you're writing that down, so keep records of everything," said O'Hare.

If you feel like you can't eat well because you're always visiting with friends and family, O'Hare said you can schedule social time around physical activity.

"Think about the party's that you're at is there any way that you guys will go on a walk together if it's a holiday event, or try shopping in stores versus online, to get in some extra physical activity," said O'Hare.

If you do make it to the gym, she said don't make it an excuse to eat junk food.

"Over the holidays, don't think that you can overeat, because you planned in a physical activity, just because you went to the gym doesn't mean you get to have extra calories later on," said O'Hare.

Shawn Taylor, a trainer at Anytime Fitness in Cape Girardeau also has a few tips to keep off the holiday heft.

He said adding oats and multi-whole grains to your diet as the soluble fiber helps to slow the breakdown of simple sugar.

He also suggested adding "good fats" like omega-3 fatty acids to your meals to slow down the glucose absorption. He gave the example of adding almonds or olive oils to stir fry veggies for some extra healthy fats.

Eating with your fingers can help keep you from over eating at parties, according to Taylor. He said finger foods, like veggies are a great snack. They keep your fingers busy while providing you with snacks high in antioxidants. And if you use olive based dips, that's another source of heart healthy nutrients that can help slow the absorption of glucose.

If you're heading out to a party, Taylor said to get your "shake" on before you hit the dance floor. He said a protein shake, split 50:50 with whey and casein before you go to a party, will help keep you full. Then you're less tempted to eat the fatty foods.

In between your holiday gatherings, try to "get your sweat on." Taylor said a 30 minutes calorie blitz is capable of burning 400 calories. The endorphins released can help keep your appetite in check.

And last but not least, Taylor said simple sugars are your enemy during the holiday eating spree, so try to limit them.

A lot of viewers say they use sources online and on cell phone apps to keep their eating on track.

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