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Check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic on how to avoid holiday weight gain.
Get a head start this year and schedule a consultation with Dr. Neiman TODAY! (908) 470-2235.
How to avoid holiday weight gain
It seems to happen every holiday season.
You attend parties and office gatherings to share a few festive moments with family, friends, colleagues and lots and lots of food. But when the holiday season is finally over, the bathroom scale reveals that you’ve gained some weight again, much to your chagrin.
Research studies show most adults gain some weight over the holidays. But don’t despair because this year can be different.
“I recommend to my patients that they just try to keep their current weight, as opposed to focusing on losing weight,” says Julia Renee Zumpano, RD, LD, registered dietitian, Preventive Cardiology and Rehabilitation. “Even though it’s hard to resist temptations all around you, there are simple steps you can take that can keep the extra holiday pounds off.”
How can you try to maintain your weight and heart-health during such a tempting time? We’ve conjured up these tips to surviving the holiday hoop-la that is sure-fire success – this season and in the future ones to come.
1. Get moving
One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, sustained aerobic activity (*).To burn off those extra calories, kick up your exercise. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes. If you exercise three times a week, move it up to five times a week.
Exercise is a great way to burn those extra calories you may be taking in this time of year (remember those iced reindeer cookies you had with lunch?). Here are some ideas to get you moving:
- If you have a stationery bicycle or treadmill at home, dust it off and put it in front of the television or radio for some background entertainment while you’re exercising. Why not watch your favorite television show and exercise at the same time?
- Go to the library and get a book on tape or CD, listen to it and read (so-to-speak) as you exercise.
- Haven’t used your gym-pass in awhile? Hire a personal trainer to teach you effective calorie-burning techniques, or join that kick boxing class you’ve always wanted to try.
- Go for a morning or evening walk alone or with a friend.
- Put a little kick in your cleaning technique. Fire up some music and dance while you clean. Who ever knew cleaning could be so fun?
- Have bad knees or other joints? Don’t worry – water aerobics or swimming is your answer! The water prevents your weight bearing down on the joints and is an effective way to burn calories.
(*) If you haven’t exercised in at least 6-months, check with your doctor first before starting.
2. Aim for seven-a-day
Making sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level. When compared to other snack foods like chips, crackers and cookies, gram for gram, fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and tons more nutrients. What’s more – the fiber in fruits and vegetables fill you up faster than traditional snack foods. Pack your refrigerator with bags of cut-up vegetables and whole or cut-up fruits. Grab a bag while on the go or at work. Make a pact with yourself that you’ll eat your five-a-day before you snack on any cookies or other holiday treats. You’re sure to take in fewer calories overall.
3. Control the risk for temptation
Controlling even the slightest chance of coming in contact with ‘tempting’ foods is one way to effectively reduce your intake. While you won’t be able to control all situations, focus on the many ones you can. For example, do you keep candy or cookies at your desk or workspace? Do you frequent the dining room table or pantry where you store all your holiday goodies? Make a mental note of tempting places and try to control them. For example, make a pact with co-workers that goodies will be kept solely in the break room, not at the front desk or in various offices. Mentally plan out how you will avoid tempting situations. If you can’t avoid them entirely, see number 4.
4. Limit to one-a-day
While you can’t control every situation, you can control how much food goes into your mouth. If you are constantly bombarded with holiday parties and displays of desserts or candies you can still effectively help prevent overeating and weight gain. One way is the one-a-day method. Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season. Remember that you may have to compensate for it later in the day by reducing your total caloric intake or by burning a few extra calories while exercising. If you aren’t confronted with holiday foods that day, just skip your one-a-day – but don’t compensate and double-up on your serving the next day.
5. Always plan ahead – Never go to a party hungry
Before you go to a holiday party, eat a healthy snack such as a serving of your favorite fruit, fat-free yogurt or a low-fat, whole grain granola bar. When you arrive at the party, you won’t be craving hors d’oeuvres.
“If you’re going to a potluck dinner, bring a healthy dish to share such as a salad, veggie or fruit tray, or a low-fat pudding, Jell-O or fruit dessert,” says Zumpano. “That way, you’ll know you have at least one healthy item on the table spread.”
6. Be in charge of your party choices:
- Small plate, please
Be wise when choosing appetizers – a small portion of some appetizers may help you from overeating at dinner.
“Pick up a small plate, and stick with vegetables, but limit or avoid the creamy dips,” advises Zumpano. "Restrict your intake of butter crackers, chips, cheese and meats. If you must have a deep-fried appetizer, eat only one small serving. Never go back for seconds. For dinner, fill half of your plate with salad and vegetables, one quarter with meat, and the final quarter with starch,” Zumpano says.
- Avoid the sauce
Avoid sauces made from cream, half-and-half or meat drippings. For salads, use oil and vinegar, vinaigrette or low-fat dressings. Broth -based or vegetable sauces are fine.
- What about desserts?
The best low-calorie choices are fruit, Jell-O, pudding, an unfrosted mini muffin, shortbread cookies, ginger snaps or angel food cake. If you must have a dessert with frosting, butter cream, cream cheese, or chocolate chips, limit yourself to one small cookie or one thin slice of cake.
- Watch the drinks
“Besides restricting your alcohol to one or two servings, you also need to restrict the type of alcohol,” says Zumpano. “For example, instead of high-fat eggnog, have a light beer or wine. After that, stick with calorie-free drinks such as water, unsweetened ice tea, hot tea or coffee.”
7. Say No Politely
Many times you feel forced to eat foods because people keep putting it in front of you. Learn to say no politely, such as "No thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious", or "I couldn’t eat another bite. Everything tasted wonderful". You’ll find saying no isn’t so hard to do after all.
8. Focus on socializing
Don’t stand around the food table when you are at a party – focus your energies on making conversation with others instead of focusing on foods. Conversation is calorie-free.
Remember, the holidays are meant to celebrate good times with family and friends. Enjoy the holidays and plan effective strategies to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Achieving what you sought out for will give you one more good reason for holiday cheer! Happy Holidays!
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Thanksgiving Fitness Tips – Out of Your Routine Tips to Keep Fit
Thanksgiving is a time to visit with family and friends and many times, you are away from the gym, classes or time at home available to get your “regular” fitness routine in for the day. However, there are many things you can do to keep your body feeling and looking fit and make your holiday more enjoyable.
Ok, first and foremost, you have to MOTIVATE yourself a bit to INNOVATE with some creative ideas to get the calories burned. Keep this in mind- tell yourself you want to EARN the calories you are going to enjoy later in the day. Here are some useful and easy tips:
- WALK – sounds easy but not that appealing if you are staying in the Northeast with bad weather – however – remember – a QUICK walk in bad weather is better then no walk at home. Bundle up, wear good shoes, take an umbrella if necessary, and walk fast and hard for 10-15 minutes outside. It will wake you up, refresh you and get your day off to the right start.
- Before getting dressed and showered for the day – try some easy in the room exercises to tighten up some of those muscles:
- do leg lifts on the floor, one leg at a time if necessary, and do in sets of ten. Start with 1 set and if you still have energy left, keep going.
- If you have any bands at home, do some arm stretches sitting in a chair – again start with sets of 10 and then go a little further if you have extra energy
- Squats – in your room, hold onto your bed or chair, and do some squats to get your thighs and back in shape- start with sets of 5
- Help with all the set up preparations – get the table ready, get the house and foods set up – just keep yourself busy.
- If you are having young children over for the day – DO YOU REMEMBER THE GAME SIMON SAYS – it keeps you active, it is easy – and they will have great fun!!!! (so much better then video games or card games)
- Get up from the table where the food is – every 15 to 20 minutes and take the LONG way to the food, walk around the rooms, around tables, take as many steps as possible to get to your destination.
- At the end of the evening, if you feel a bit over-indulged and full – don’t do anything strenuous, but maybe take some walks around your table and your rooms, just get some extra steps, nice and slow in before you lie down for the night.
REMEMBER – Thanksgiving is about friends, family and being thankful for those you love. Make the day more enjoyable by making yourself feel as good about yourself as possible – so just push yourself to do a little bit extra, either before or after, the day is done.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND ENJOY THE HOLIDAY
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DR. NEIMAN'S TIPS FOR A HAPPY AND HEALTHIER THANKSGIVING
Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends and enjoying the time with all. Weight loss does not have to be your first concern, BUT, you do not have to wake up the next day and have regrets about what you ate (not about what you said). Here are some easy tips to enjoy the day and the people you spend it with:
- Time yourself sitting at the table – DO NOT let yourself sit around the table filled with food for more then 15-20 minutes at time. Get up and walk around, get something to drink before sitting down again.
- Avoid eating the “extras” on the food –
- NO SKIN – the meat is enjoyment enough
- NO TOPPINGS – if there is a dish with excess toppings, try and scrape them off and put on side of plate
- Avoid a lot of the white food- potatoes or breads – you can eat these foods anytime- stick with the foods that are special for the holiday
- Deserts- yes, you can have some, just put a little slice of a few that you want on your plate, just slice them in half and take a few tastes – it is satisfying and gets rid of the “urge”
- Drink water at meal time – don’t waste calories on soda, juices or other unnecessary drinks
Also, what can help the entire day go smoother and easier is try and start the day with a quick walk outside, around the house or in a store. The real “feast” does not begin until after 12pm usually, so don’t let yourself waste calories before the holiday food arrives!
MOST IMPORTANT to remember- holidays are to ENJOY the time with family and friends – these are special times together that you will always remember. If you overdo on calories for 1 day, it was just 1 day. Get the food that will make you vulnerable out of your house and jump back on the weight loss road as soon as you can – that is a challenge and that is what will bring life long success!
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Noelle's daily Turkey Day tip:
Be active: Go for a bike ride, a long brisk walk, a run or spend at least one hour at your local gym to burn calories before the big Thanksgiving meal. Check your local newspaper, town website for various outdoor activities such as 5k Turkey Trots, etc. It's a great way to rev up the metabolism before the big family meal. Once the meal is over, go back outside and take a stroll or get the entire family involved in some sort of outdoor fun: ie: pick up basketball or soccer game.. not only will you burn off extra calories, you'll feel lighter and more energized as well!
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Look for us at Step Ahead to help you get through the holidays with less pain and gain! We are offering you a DAILY TIP to get through Turkey Day,
Either a calorie burner or a calorie builder- yes, exercises and recipes to help make this day more enjoyable and easier for you and your family.
Today, we will start with one of our fabulous recipes from our dietician, Sari Greaves, who has unique recipes to add spice with very little calorie price!
1 (14 to 15-pound) turkey, neck and giblets reserved
To make the turkey: Position the rack in the lowest third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F.
Rinse the turkey and pat it dry with paper towels. Place the turkey on a rack set inside a large roasting pan. Place the orange and lemon wedges, onion, and 2 sprigs of each fresh herb in the main turkey cavity. Tie the legs together to hold the shape of the turkey. Stir the herbes de Provence, oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of each the salt and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the butter melts. Rub the mixture all over the turkey and between the turkey breast meat and skin. Place the turkey neck and giblets in roasting pan. (Recipecan be prepared up to this point 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before roasting.)
Cover the turkey breast with foil. Roast for 20 minutes. Pour 3 cups of broth into the pan and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining sprigs of fresh herbs to the pan. Roast the turkey for 40 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Pour 1 more cup of broth into the pan. Continue roasting the turkey until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees F to 175 degrees F or until the juices run clear when the thickest part of the thigh is pierced with a skewer, basting occasionally with pan juices, about 1 hour and 30 minutes longer. Transfer the turkey to a platter and tent with foil. Let stand 30 minutes while preparing the gravy.
To make the gravy: Strain the turkey pan juices from the roasting pan through a sieve and into a 4-cup glass measuring cup; discard the solids. Spoon off the fat from atop the pan juices. Add enough chicken broth, about 1 to 2 cups, to the pan juices to measure 4 cups total. Add the whole wheat flour and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually whisk in the broth. Simmer until the gravy thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve the turkey with the gravy.
Serving: 3 oz (white meat-very lean meats)
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Thanksgiving Day is right around the corner and it is a time to enjoy family and friends- NOT to worry about your weight loss journey. Here are a few tips to add to your planning that will make it easier for you to put aside your fears and ENJOY TURKEY DAY without any regrets:
STOP looking for the closest spot to the store- NO MATTER HOW COLD it may get. The more steps and activity you can get into the days leading up to the holiday, the better!
Track your steps throughout the days. 10,000 steps a day is ideal, but remember, just DO YOUR BEST- make an effort to increase your steps every day and it helps you burn more calories and feel better. For every 2,000 steps- you have burned 100 calories- keep track, it helps motivate you!
DON’T wait for January to dust off your exercise equipment at home- start NOW. It will make your holidays easier to enjoy and you will be one step ahead of any New Year’s Resolution you may make for 2014. Start slow, 10 minutes every other day, and then work your way up as best that you can.
If you are a member of gym, make sure you sign up for 1 or 2 classes, with the early sunset and cold weather, it is easy to convince yourself out of a trek to the gym. Commit to a class schedule, better yet, do it with a friend, and it will force you to get out, at least 1 or 2 times a week.
There are many community led events this time of year. Check your local area paper or website and look for any walks, hikes or other interesting going-ons that may keep you moving on the weekends. It is a great way to enjoy your town, meet others and keep yourself burning those calories!
MAKE MORE work for yourself- DON’T carry decorations, packages or other things in large bundles through your house- make MORE trips- either up the stairs or through the house. Make a commitment with yourself that you will not overload your arms – it will make your holiday routine more efficient with calorie burning!
OKAY- This is a start- try these steps out to start and look for more tips to enjoy the holidays as the week goes on. If you have any questions, feel free to call, our Personal Trainer, Noelle, is always happy to help with any questions!
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