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Seven ways to battle the holiday bulge

by AFP/Relaxnews

AFP/Relaxnews - 9 December 2013 12:46 PM | Updated 09 Dec 2013

Seven ways to battle the holiday bulge

'Tis the season for holiday eating. And that means that most of us will pack on about 0.5kg to 1kg this time of year. While that might not sound like much, annual weight gain adds up year after year.

But rather than put down the eggnog and fruit cake altogether, Dr. Amy Moore, assistant professor of nutrition and dietetics at Saint Louis University in the US, offers a few sensible approaches to enjoying the season while keeping your waistline intact.

Be picky about your splurges
Holidays are a time to sample special seasonal treats that people have spent a lot of time preparing, Moore says. "If Aunt Helen's delectable Christmas Buche de Noel chocolate dessert beckons, enjoy a slice but pass on the brownies or soda."

Be mindful
Pay attention to what you're eating. Slow down and savor every bite, taking the time to appreciate what you're putting into your mouth.

Plan ahead
If you know you are going to a party in the evening, eat a healthy breakfast and lunch. "Bring something healthy to potlucks so at least you can count on one healthy option being offered," Moore says. "Fruit – pomegranates, clementine oranges and cranberries – are terrific holiday dishes because they are pretty, festive and, best of all, easy."

Conversation is calorie-free
Focus on family and friendship, not the food.

Water is calorie-free, too
"Alternate a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage to pace yourself as you celebrate and prevent a next day hangover," Moore advises.

Exercise
"While it's not necessary to count every calorie, it is good to have a rough idea of how your calorie intake corresponds to your exercise, and know that it can take more exercise than you might think to balance out your food intake," adds Ethel Frese, associate professor of physical therapy and athletic training at Saint Louis University.

Fight the urge to hibernate
Bundle up and get out for fresh air and exercise, Frese adds. Run errands, stop by to see friends and neighbors, drop off canned goods at a food pantry, check out an exhibit at a museum or build a snowman. The point is to keep moving.