Mercy Suburban Hospital Offers Ways to Keep Your Diet on Track During the Holidays
Most people have tried a diet at some point in their lives. The holidays can be a challenge when it comes to staying on track with your weight loss goals, whether you have had bariatric surgery or are just trying to lose a few pounds.
“Weight gain is not inevitable during the holidays,” says Hany F. Abdel, DO, Primary Care Physician at the newly opened Mercy Health Center at Plymouth Meeting Mall. “If you recognize that the holidays can be stressful and are prepared and in control of your eating, you can avoid holiday weight gain.”
The holidays should be an enjoyable time of the year. To avoid feeling guilty if you overeat or by feeling deprived by not eating enough, you should educate yourself and choose your foods wisely. Avoid high-calorie beverages such as eggnog, alcohol, soda, apple cider, and juice and pace your eating prior to the event so you’ll be hungry but not famished at mealtime.
Survey all of the food at a buffet before making your choices. Choose the foods that you really want and have the other foods at a later time. Give food your full attention and eat mindfully rather than eating on autopilot. Appreciate the appearance and aroma of your food and savor one small bite at a time by putting your fork down. You'll eat less food but enjoy it more. If the food doesn't taste as good as you expected, stop eating it and choose something else.
“You should enjoy what you do decide to eat,” says Stephanie Ikeme, DO, Primary Care Physician at the newly opened Mercy Health Center at Plymouth Meeting Mall. “You don't need to consume a large amount to appreciate good food while celebrating with family and friends.”
Mercy Suburban Hospital offers these tips for maintaining your weight over the holidays:
- Watch your portions: Treat yourself to all of your favorite dishes, but in small portions. Moderation is the key.
- Be realistic: Don't try to lose a lot of weight over the holidays. Instead, focus on maintaining your weight.
- Don't go to a party hungry: This can lead to overeating. Try to eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch.
- Avoid unconscious eating: Don’t indulge in food just because it's there. Grazing unconsciously leads to extra calories that you probably won't even remember enjoying. It is best not to socialize near the food.
- Drink plenty of water: Drink water to keep yourself hydrated and help fill up your stomach.
- Don’t take a holiday from exercise: Exercise can relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Look for opportunities for physical activity - take a walk after dinner to enjoy the lights or take a few laps around the mall before it opens to do some window shopping.
- Watch the drinks: Alcohol can dehydrate your body and it is high in empty calories.
- Make a healthy dish: Take a healthy dish to share at holiday events. That way you know there will be at least one healthy item for you to enjoy.
“If you do overindulge, don’t feel guilty,” says Abdel. “Long-term weight loss and maintenance is a long-term effort and one day will not “make or break” your weight loss goals. The holidays are a time of temptation but if you overeat at one meal, move on to healthy choices at your next meal.”