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Avoid packing on additional holiday pounds

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By Joan Martin

The holiday season is full of wonderful tasty food that tends to add pounds to those who overindulge. The Weight Management for the Holidays program can help you avoid packing on the pounds as you enjoy the holidays with family, friends and coworkers.  
What you eat and how much you exercise can help balance calorie intake with calorie output.  Unfortunately most of us overestimate how many calories we use when we move. For example, it would take about 45 minutes of walking at a moderate pace of 3.5 mph to burn off the calories in two average size purchased chocolate chip cookies. We tend to think that we use a lot more calories. Of course, this is the average amount of calories burned.  Personal characteristics such as size of the individual and fitness level affect the outcome as well as the intensity of activity.  
The healthy weight strategies are not anything new so we need to remind ourselves of what works for us. The Weight Management program doesn’t prescribe a diet plan. Rather, the program promotes healthy eating and activity for life. It’s a support group to help you reach your goals. There are no prizes or incentives attached to the program, just the tremendous satisfaction that you reached your goal. Remember that not gaining weight during the holidays is success even if you didn’t lose any weight. Try the following ideas to help you reach your goals.

Make healthy food choices
Eat more fiber and eat more often. Don’t save up calories by eating light during the day and then overindulge at the holiday party. This plan doesn’t work because we tend to eat more than the calories we saved. It’s better to eat five small meals a day and never be starving hungry. Be sure to include some healthy fats in your foods so you have a feeling of fullness and satisfaction. Salads at every meal may not be your best choice for lasting weight loss.

Increase your activity level
Add variety to your workout plan. Walking works for weight loss and so does adding some kind of weight and strength training.

Build a supportive
environment
You will meet people at the weight management program who can become part of your supportive environment and maybe workout partners. Learn what to say to your family and friends so they will be more supportive and stop trying to sabotage your weight management plans.
More keys for successful weight management include:
Keep trying. Don’t give up. It took a long time to pack on the pounds and it takes a while to permanently lose them. Quick weight loss usually results in quick weight gain when you stop the regimen.
Don’t deny yourself. On the other hand, don’t overindulge.
Weigh yourself often, maybe a couple of times a week.
Exercise one hour a day at least five days a week. Plan fun activities that you enjoy and add variety.
Reward yourself for success with healthy fun activities and nonfood items.
Register for Weight Management for the Holidays by calling the Anderson County Extension Office at 502-839-7271. There is no charge for the class which begins on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 6 p.m. in the conference room at the Extension office. At least 10 people must register by noon on Dec. 4 or the class will be cancelled.    

Joan Martin is a family and consumer sciences agent in the Anderson Extension office.