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Top 10 Holiday Eating Tips

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You can eat plenty of holiday goodies. Just know when and how much to eat. The holidays and good food go together. But, you don’t have to gain weight. You can manage your weight. Of course, regular exercise will help you manage your weight during the long holiday season.

Try on these holiday eating tips:

Tip #1 – Stay Hydrated

Water does a body good! Somehow, it's not easy to drink enough water every day. About 2/3 of your body is water. Drink about half your weight in water every day. So, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water each day. Drinking water can help you eat less.

Remember, certain foods contain large amounts of water. This counts toward your water intake. For instance watermelon is about 90 percent water and lettuce has about 95 percent water. Some meats contain as much as 70 percent water.

Tip #2 – Your Meal Plan Still Matters

Even during the holidays, try to comply with your meal plan 90 percent of the time. This leaves plenty of room to enjoy the holiday goodies. Also, your food journal really comes in handy during the holiday season. Tracking what you eat holds you accountable.

Tip #3 – Eat Plenty Of Protein

Get full on protein foods first. It will help you eat less of the condiments, desserts and other high-fat foods at the party. Most holiday parties have plenty of foods loaded with protein. Nuts, ham, turkey, chicken, fish, etc. are great foods to eat. Protein helps control your blood sugar if you happen to eat carbohydrates. Protein also fills you up and leaves you satisfied on fewer calories.

Tip #4 – Eat Your Calories

Drinking sugary drinks can really pack on the pounds quickly. Drink water and unsweetened drinks like tea.

Eat your calories. Chew your food slower. One quick way to blow a hole through your meal plan is to drink too many empty calories contained in drinks like sodas, sugared fruit juices and designer coffees. These are empty calories because they do very little to keep you full (satiety) and you end up wanting and eating more.

Tip #5 – Eat One Serving

Don’t enjoy your holiday gatherings and parties too much. Eat one serving of food on a plate. Avoid grazing (unless its at the vegetable/fruit tray). Eating haphazardly at a party will put tons of calories in your belly.

Tip #6 – Watch Your Alcohol Consumption

First, one gram of alcohol provides 7 calories. Only fat (9 cal/g) provides more calories than alcohol. When you take a drink of alcohol, your body converts a small amount of it into fat and the rest is converted (by the liver) into a substance called acetate. This acetate is then quickly released into the bloodstream and used as the body's main source of energy.

So, your body is using the acetate for energy instead of the stored fat in your body. The more you drink, the more fat your body will store (many times belly fat)!

Added to this problem is the fact that alcohol consumption can increase your appetite. Researchers from Denmark found that a group of men ate more when they were served beer or wine and they ate less when served a soft drink. Just think of all the high-calorie meals served with alcohol at a place like a sports bar!

Tip #7 – Don’t Take An Empty Stomach To The Party

You know how you don’t go to the grocery store on an empty stomach? The same rule applies to holiday eating parties. Empty stomachs want to devour food.

Tip #8 – Exercise More If You Eat More

I use this trick and it works. If I eat more calories than usual, I will burn more calories during my workout. I usually do this by adding an extra 20-minute interval cardio sprinting session. It always works to burn the extra calories.

Tip #9 – Walk, Walk, Walk

This one tip is for all seasons. Walking has benefits beyond physical improvements. Walks help clear your mind after a troublesome day.

We will all eat more food than usual on more than one occasion during the long holiday season. Staying active with walking, biking, etc. also helps to burn the calories.

Tip #10 – Enjoy The Holiday Season

Your life is not composed of a weight loss diet. Health, fat loss and weight maintenance is the goal. One goal I have for the holiday season is to not gain weight. I enjoy plenty of good holiday food and continue to do my workouts. I hope you do the same.

Have a happy and safe holiday season!

Mark Dilworth, BA, PES, CPT is a Certified Personal Trainer and former NCAA Division I athlete. Mark is the owner of My Fitness Hut, Her Fitness Hut and Sports Fitness Hut. Mark’s Fat Blaster Athletic Training System has been proven to give his clients the fit, sculpted and athletic-type bodies they want. Visit Mark’s main site:

Your Fitness University http://yourfitnessuniversity.com

Add a Comment3 Comments

Thanks- Turkey Day is my favorite meal of the year, but I'll try to keep it healthy....I'm thankful for my good health!

November 21, 2010 - 12:46pm

Happy holidays to you Cat! And, happy, healthy eating!

November 21, 2010 - 11:48am
EmpowHER Guest

Mark, there's lots of good information here and just in time for Turkey Day. I've kind of gotten away from eating healthy, but your article reminded me to get back on track. I also enjoyed your website.


November 21, 2010 - 7:21am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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