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Don't Let Your Belly Shake Like a Bowl Full of Jelly

November 28, 2010       Leave a Comment
By: Stacy Sawyer

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For many of us more than half of our annual weight gain occurs between Thanksgiving and New Year's. Some studies say the average American puts on up to 5 to 7 pounds in these few weeks.
And it's no wonder if you count up the cookies, cakes and cups full of eggnog we just can't say no to at holiday parties. While we're chatting away and filling ourselves with holiday cheer, we're also filling up with calories ... one nibble at a time. Those empty calories add up fast.

So before your belly starts shaking like a bowl full of jelly, check out these tips:

  • At holiday parties where tempting foods are often served, eat something healthy beforehand so you're not likely to overindulge. Interact away from the buffet where it's easy to graze mindlessly. Serve yourself and move to a different part of the room.

  • Eat breakfast. Studies show that if you skip breakfast, you end up consuming more calories throughout the day than those who start off with a bowl of high-fiber cereal.

  • Watch your liquid calories and reach for tall, slender glasses. A Cornell University study showed adults who drank from tall, slender glasses drank about 19 percent less than those who drank from short, wide glasses.

  • Make your holidays more event-based and less food-based. Go for a long walk before your meals and have the family gather branches, berries and leaves to build a beautiful fall centerpiece for your table.

  • Rid your home of leftovers by having festive gift containers for everyone to take home samples of their favorite dishes.
  • Keep your hands, mind and feet busy. People can often get bored during the holidays and turn to food. Plan on reading a novel, taking photos, playing a game, writing in a journal or participating in a fun run.

  • Practice portion control. Bake your favorite cookies or pie, but make the cookies smaller than usual and cut the pie in smaller slices. Take one piece and WALK AWAY. Let's face it, some desserts should be avoided. One slice of pecan pie can be as much as 900 calories - OUCH!

  • Cook smart when making your delicious holiday recipes. Use a heart-healthy spread instead of butter, add dried fruit and reduce the amount of chocolate chips in cookies, cut your sugar amount by half or use a sugar substitute, or grill green beans instead of baking the usual casserole.

    Remember every little step helps and these little tips could save you more calories than you think! Happy Holidays!

    Stacy Sawyer
    Communications Director -- American Heart Association
    989-225-7513 (cell)
    517-349-3240 (fax)

    I invite your questions and feedback.

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    Stacy Sawyer

    Stacy Sawyer is the Director of Communications for the American Heart Association. She can be reached at (989) 225-7513.

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