Healthy Hibernation: Avoiding Winter Weight Gain

Healthy Hibernation: Avoiding
Winter Weight Gain
Holly Herrington, RD, LDN,CDE
Center for Lifestyle Medicine
[email protected]
Holidays ≠ FOOD!
• Food is everywhere during the holiday season,
making it tough to stick to your healthful eating and
exercise habits.
• With a little attention, however, you can make it
through the holidays without losing track of your
healthy lifestyle.
• Thanksgiving
• Christmas
• New Year’s
Be Realistic
• Focus on weight maintenance vs. weight loss during
the holidays.
• Maintenance of your present weight is a big enough
challenge during the holiday season. Don’t set yourself
up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.
• Plan on NOT dieting after the New Year. Anticipation of
food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating over
the holidays
Holiday Weight Maintenance
• Yes… weight maintenance not weight loss!
• On average people gain ~5 pounds over
the holidays… that’s 20 pounds over 10
• IF you normally follow a strict diet.. You
may gain 2x more than those who
maintain a consistent diet
• December 1-24 and 26-30 are
not Holidays
• Allow yourself to enjoy the DAY
– Holidays are ONE day
– Keep in mind nothing is an ‘All You
Can Eat’ buffet
– ALL things in moderation
General Rules…
• Continue to purchase Healthy Foods, control
• Eat on a regular schedule
• Make an effort to keep your exercise schedule on
• Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but take a small
portion, eat slowly, and savor the taste and texture.
Daily self-monitoring helps!
• Pick realistic goals
– Get in more fruits and vegetables when you can!
• Weigh yourself daily
• Monitor food intake
– Food log
– Online or written
• Myfitnesspal or Livestrong
• Track physical activity
• Target the reductions in physical activity
• Pick daily step goals
• Use pedometer
Average Holiday Dinner
• 4, 000 calories
– 229 grams fat
• The big culprits are…
– Pecan pie = 500 calories per slice (1/8)
– 1 cup stuffing = 350 calories
– 6 ounces dark meat = 350 calories
The Damage…
• Turkey
– 4 ounces = 160 calories
– With gravy = 260 calories
• Sweet potato
– 1 medium = 110 calories
– Candied = 305 calories
• Mashed potatoes
– 1 cup = 210 calories
• Biscuits
– 1 = 250 calories
Healthier Thanksgiving Dinner = 1,000 calories
Turkey White Meat and skin – 1 cup diced, 276 calories
Bread Stuffing – 1/2 cup, 190 calories
Mashed Potatoes (Whole milk and butter added) – 1 cup, 237 calories
Whole Kernel Corn (Canned) – 1/2 cup, 66 calories
Turkey Gravy (Canned) – 1/2 cup 60 calories
Dinner Roll (White) – 1 roll, 120 calories
Butter – 1 tablespoon, 100 calories
Pumpkin Pie (Libby’s Recipe) – 1/8 of pie, 319 calories
Calories – 1,050
Fat – 63.45 g, Carbs – 101.9 g carbs
Protein – 97 g
Office candy (aka junk)
• Those mini snickers
aren’t that bad…
– 1 = 100 calories
– X 10 = 1,000
– = gain ½ pound per
week or 25 pounds
per year!
• To burn off those 1,000
calories you’d have to do:
1 hour elliptical (500 calories)
+ 60 minutes weights (300
+ 1 hour yard work (or
stringing the lights up) (200
3 hours total of physical
Beware of the Leftover Factor
• Holidays are one day.
– If you keep it you will eat it
– Only make enough to serve the amount of people present
– Send leftovers home with guests
– It will be wasted one way or the other
Use a Plate (and make it a small one).
• When eating, aim to eat all meals or snacks off of a
plate instead of mindlessly munching while
socializing, watching TV, or when in a hurry.
– keep track of your portions better than mindlessly popping
food in your mouth.
• Popcorn, gummy bears
• A small plate can allow you to enjoy some of your
favorite foods but you will stay in control of portions
better if you use a small plate and do not go back to
reload the plate.
Prioritize Favorites
• The more variety we have the more we eat.
• Decrease the variety you are eating by only picking
your 3-4 absolute favorites at each holiday event and
forgo the rest.
• If you know that you have 3 or 4 events in one week,
pick one of those events that you
splurge and then be conscious to scale
back at the other events.
Party Time!
• Eat a snack before you leave home. If you arrive at a
party starving, you’ll be more likely to overindulge.
– Stick to your regular eating schedule!
• Survey the entire table before you take any food.
– Why waste calories on foods that don’t bring you pleasure?
• Do not graze. Try not to hang out near the food.
• Make it a priority to enjoy the circus first
(friends, family, table settings, flowers, etc.)
then your favorite holiday foods.
January Junction
• New Year’s Resolutions!
– Like babies, they’re fun to make but extremely
difficult to maintain.
– Don’t set yourself up for failure
• 1 of 3 Americans resolve to better themselves
in some way.
• While about 75% of people stick to their goals
for at least a week, less than half (46%) are
still on target six months later (2002)
Goal Setting:
Be Specific
• What do you want to improve?
Weight loss
Improved glucose control
Increased time, weight, or repetitions of fitness goals
Increased activities of daily living
Stress management (increase exercise!)
Decreased lipids (cholesterol, triglycerides)
Save money, see friends more often
• Personalize your goals. Set goals that are within your capabilities
and take into account your limitations.
– Think about your personal fitness level, health concerns, available time
and motivation. Tailoring your expectations to your personal situation
helps you set achievable goals.
– SCALE of 1-10, how achievable is this? You should be at a 7 or higher!
• Aim for realistic weight-loss goals. Healthy weight loss occurs
slowly and steadily.
– Aim to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. Losing weight more rapidly usually
means losing water weight or muscle tissue, rather than fat.
• Focus on the process. Make your goals "process goals," such as
exercising regularly, rather than "outcome goals," such as losing 50
– Changing your process — your habits — is the key to weight loss. Make
sure that your process goals are realistic, specific & measurable. For
example, set out to walk for 30 minutes/day, 5 days a week.
AFTER the Holidays
• Avoid the temptation to Diet
– No fad diets, juice cleanses
– Track Your Food
– Meal plans
• Helps avoid eating “whatever”
– Set an exercise Schedule
• Start planning activity NOW
• Start practicing NOW
Calories Count!
• How to find them?
• How to cut them?
• A calorie is a unit of measurement that measures
the amount of energy contained in a food or
• 3,500 calories = 1 pound body weight
– 500 less calories per day = 1 pound per week weight loss
See how many calories are in each product (aim for 1200 calories/day or 300
See per serving size how many calories are in each serving size (Ex: if there are 2
servings per container you have to multiple the calories by 2 if you eat the entire
Log your food
• One of the most important behaviors during
this high risk time is to record everything
you eat.
• Logging will help increase mindfulness of
eating decisions and help you keep tabs on
your portions.
• Research shows logging works, so give it a try
from now until January 1 or even through the
month of January.
• Food Logs Online:
– My Fitness Pal:
– My Pyramid (USDA):
– The Daily Plate:
– Calorie King:
• Phone Applications:
Lose It!
Spark People
Meal Planning is KEY
• When you fail to plan your plan to fail
– Being prepared helps you prevent eating unhealthy
• Healthy winter “comfort foods”
– Soups, crock pot meals
– Low calorie “goodies”
• Pre-cooked foods
• Make it convenient!
• Skinny Taste
• Cooking Light
• Eating Well
• Clean Eating
Maintain perspective
• Overeating one day won't make or break your
eating plan. It takes days of overeating to gain
weight. If you over-indulge at a holiday meal,
put it behind you. Return to your usual eating
plan the next day without guilt or despair.
Exercise Schedule
• NOW is the time to PLAN
for exercise
• Come five o'clock, when it's
pitch black and cold out,
you're a lot more likely to
go to your warm home and
watch TV if you don't have
a regular fitness schedule
that includes a variety of
types of exercises.
How Much?
• For weight loss:
– 300 minutes per week
– 45-60 minutes per day
• For weight maintenance:
– 150 minutes per week
– 30 minutes per day
– Walking 10k steps per day
Exercise Log
• Keep track of your activity
– MapMyRun or
– My Pyramid Tracker
– Google Maps
• Pedometer:
– FitBit, Jawbone, Garmin, FuelBand
– New Lifestyles
– Accusplit Pedometer
Contact Info
• Erin McCarthy MS, RD
– [email protected] or 312-695-5137
• Holly Herrington MS, RD
– [email protected] or 312-926-3624
• Appointment Services
– 312-695-2300
– Location: 19th Floor Galter Pavilion, Suite 100
Thank YOU!
Center for Lifestyle Medicine

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