11 Ways to Stay On Track During the Holidays

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A registered dietician offers tips for healthy eating this holiday.

For some, eating during the holidays can be as expected as singing Christmas carols. Registered Dietician Renee Covey offers healthy eating habits to control weight this holiday.

"As a dietitian, I work with people who have had bariatric surgery at Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth. Through their experiences and my own, I've compiled my top tips for navigating the holidays.

With endless amounts of tempting holiday treats, parties to attend and busy schedules, too often weight gain over the holidays seems inevitable. But with a little creativity and planning ahead, you don’t have to go into 2014 with extra pounds.

As a dietitian, I work with people who have had bariatric surgery at the Center for Surgical Weight Management at Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth. Through their experiences and my own, here are my top tips for navigating the holidays:

1.    Make your New Year’s resolution early (before the holidays). Visualize yourself on January 1, feeling on-track with a well-nourished body, mind and spirit.
2.    Be the slowest eater. You will enjoy the food more (texture, smell, taste) and will feel satisfied with less.
3.    Do your socializing away from the buffet table or bar. Holidays involve a lot of parties, conversation, and occasional drinking. It can be very easy to get distracted by the mood and “forget” what you have consumed.
4.    Do not arrive hungry. Eat a healthy snack before arriving.
5.    Make new traditions. Incorporate some exercise - walk with your family to look at Christmas lights, organize a game of Frisbee or dance to some holiday music.
6.    Don’t feel guilty. If you “fall off the wagon,” there is nothing stopping you from climbing back on!
7.    Exercise. Do not take a holiday from your exercise. Continue normal workouts in addition to extra activities like power walking while shopping. Take a walk with your family after a meal.
8.    Be aware - there will always be cake. You have the right to say no or to only try a very small piece.
9.    Be prepared for pushers. Be prepared for food pushers and practice how you will respond to them. Say, “I’m eating this way for my health.”
10.    When out and in doubt, don’t eat it. Carry a healthy snack instead, so you’re not lured by cookies at the mall.
11.    Finally, feed and nourish yourself in other ways. Don’t allow holiday weight gain to happen to you. Take an active role in creating the experiences that you hope to have during this season.

Need help with Meal Planning, Diet or Nutrition?

The registered dietitians at the Diabetes & Nutrition Education Center at Gwinnett Medical Center can help you design a meal plan to meet your diet and lifestyle goals. Your individualized Diet by Design plan can help you stay on track regardless of the situation. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 678-312-6040 or visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/diet.

About Gwinnett Medical Center

Gwinnett Medical Center is a nationally-recognized, not-for-profit healthcare network with acute-care hospitals in Lawrenceville and Duluth. Offering cardiovascular, orthopedic and neuroscience specialty care as well as a full continuum of wellness services, GMC’s 4,800 associates and 800 affiliated physicians serve more than 400,000 patients annually. To learn more about how GMC is transforming healthcare, visit gwinnettmedicalcenter.org or follow us at facebook.com/gwinnettmedical, twitter.com/gwinnettmedical or youtube.com/gwinnettmedical.

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Beth Okun
Gwinnett Medical Center
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