Health through the Holidays

Blog Post created by dr_hays on Dec 7, 2016

The Holidays are a time to celebrate with family and friends – and also a time to celebrate a healthy New Year.  Daylight begins to grow longer in just 14 days.  In addition to committing to a bright new smoke free year, another way to be your best is to take steps to manage your weight as you see best.    

Food is a focal point of the holiday season.  Eating more than you would like is a common 'side-effect' of the holidays. But a bit of planning can go a long way toward preventing holiday weight gain:

  • Eat your favorites at the party, but be picky. Before you fill your plate, think about which items are not your favorites.  Take smaller portions than you usually do.  Have a big glass of water.  Snack on low-calorie foods early to avoid overindulging later, and remember that drinks such as eggnog, fruit punch, sodas and alcoholic beverages can contain a surprising number of calories.
  • Make a single plate of the foods that you really want.  Really enjoy it – chew slowly and savor every bite.  Take a brief walk outside after the meal.  If you're helping with the dishes, pop a piece of gum in your mouth to reduce unconscious snacking.
  • Put out healthy treats for family and friends.  Instead of candies and cookies, put out some colorful fruits and veggies and crunchy nuts.
  • Get moving!  Physical activity can curb urges to smoke, keep your mood up, help manage stress, and also keep off unwanted pounds.  It’s hard to find the time to exercise when your schedule is full of holiday activities, but this is not the time to get sedentary!
  • Make an alliance.  Take time out to talk about your plan to avoid weight gain during the holidays with a like-minded friend, and trade ideas.  Support is important in quitting smoking, and also in making other healthy moves.
  • Start now using an app (e.g. myfitnesspal) to track your food so to be in the habit of observing what you eat.

Weight gain is common when stopping smoking, but it isn’t inevitable.  Use the holidays to your advantage to continue to be the healthy person you want to be.