Ooohhh yeah! Pumpkin Pie; turkey sandwiches; boxes of chocolates; cupcakes; ham sandwiches; cheese balls and crackers; punch; soda; holiday cheer. Mmmmm. Cookies; pudding; more pumpkin pie; and oh, yeah! Hot turkey sandwich with homemade bread, gravy, beautiful white turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, gravy, homemade turkey stuffing, gravy, another slice of homemade bread and some more gravy….

The average American will gain 5-10 pounds during the holiday season; studies show an average of about 7.6 pounds each. It identified that 20% of obese people will gain that 10 pounds; 10% will gain at least 5 pounds, and the average person will gain up to that 5 pound mark.

It really begins with that Halloween Candy, then the big Thanksgiving Holiday, going onto Christmas, and finally that New Year’s Eve Party. And what comes next; the New Year’s Resolution to lose 10 pounds next year. (How many times have we done this; how many of us have broken that Resolution? Ha!)

Well, the new word, not actually a new word, weight loss programs have said it for years…PORTION CONTROL… Noooo!!! Yes, eat what you want, but eat smaller amounts, just enough to satisfy you, not stuff you till your eyes bug out (or you secretly reach down and unsnap your pants to make more room under the one size bigger shirt you purposefully wore so you could stuff).

So, if you are doing a big meal at someone’s house, even your own, there are a few things you can do not to eat too much so that you can’t breathe. First, remember you are there to enjoy friends and family; take your mind off the food and enjoy the company. Pace yourself; there will be plenty to eat later. You can take one spoonful of mashed potatoes rather than enough such that you can start shaping it on your plate so that it looks like a mountain you just saw on TV. This is where that portion control comes in. There will still be some left 4 hours from now; it’ll taste just as good then as it does now.

Avoid too much alcohol; many times, the more you drink, the more you eat. Be smart about what you are eating. Sure, we wait all year for Grandma’s mashed potatoes and gravy, and it will be good, but so will Aunt Sarah’s special green beans with bacon bits, onions cooked just right and her “special seasoning”.  Be smart about sweets and desserts. They pack on the calories if you overindulge.

And it’s not just those major meals themselves; it’s all the leftovers you will be eating for the next week or so. Again, don’t need to stuff yourself every night before you go to bed, small snacks just to satisfy your craving is what you need. It’s that evil word…PORTION CONTROL. You don’t need a quarter of a pie slice of …pumpkin pie with whip cream all over it…, a small slice is better for you and will still fix that bedtime sweet tooth.

“How do I fix this weight gain problem?” you may ask. Oh, a “twenty mile bike ride, 2 hour workout at the gym on an elliptical machine, 45 minutes of lifting weights?” you may ask. Oh sure, the average American can do all of those…NOT! Take a walk if you can. Have other people join you. You can make it a new holiday tradition when people come to visit (tell them taking a walk will make more room for later- that’ll get ‘em going).

And even when the whole holiday is over, take some daily walks yourself if you are able to. This helps burn those extra calories you did put on, makes you feel better after you have been walking on a regular basis, and you will find in time, you feel better overall because walking makes you feel healthier, increases your metabolism (and in the long run, helps you burn those calories faster in the future).

Portion control, and walking; those will help you get through the holidays a little better; then you won’t be having to make that New Year’s Resolution- “I resolve to lose one pound a month for the whole year to make up for the 12 pounds I gained during the holiday season”.

…banana nut bread; cranberry sauce; orange-pineapple jello salad; seasoned steak tips; candies yams; snickerdoodles; potato salad; dutch apple pie; cherry cobbler…