Commentary: Mary Flynn: Tips to Avoid Holiday Overeating

The holidays thrust many people, often happily, into social contexts that encourage overeating. While people often survive the holidays with, on average, only a small weight gain, overeating in December is just as unhealthy as it is at less festive times of year when holiday “license to eat” isn’t in effect. To help guide people healthfully through holiday parties, family dinners, and snacking during downtime at home, Mary Flynn, a clinical associate professor of medicine in the Warren Alpert Medical School and a research dietitian at The Miriam Hospital, offers these tips.

Mary Flynn. “Park as far away from the store as you can and bring your packages back periodically.” Image credit: Brown University

Fast afterward

If you are going to cut back on eating to compensate for going to a party, do not fast that day. Do not go to a party starving. Fast the next day when you are full.

Plan ahead

If you know you are going to a party where they will have made something that is your favorite, concentrate on eating that.

Keep it festive

Stay with the holiday foods that make the season special. You do not need to eat the same old cheese and crackers, chips and pretzels.

Maybe once a week

Dessert for lunch! Not lunch plus dessert, but just the dessert you are craving. You should do this at most once per week (and preferably less) but this will allow you to not feel deprived and the calories will count as a meal.

Be more active

Increase physical activity. If you are going to eat more, exercise more. For example, while you are shopping park as far from the store as you can and bring your packages back to the car periodically.

– By David Orenstein

*Source: Brown University

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