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Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Avoiding Santa bellies for the holidays

The holidays are just around the corner, and so are the holiday party buffet tables.

Around this time of year, it’s common for students to attend holiday parties for family, friends, work and school organizations, and there will be looming temptations: food, drinks and desserts at these parties.

A study conducted at the University of Oklahoma reported that over the holiday season, students gained about a pound of fat and lost about a pound of muscle before returning to school in January, which contributes to an average gain of 2.5 percent of body fat.

Several things can be done to minimize holiday weight gain.

UH cheerleading coach Jasmine Arnold suggested substituting ingredients to make healthier dishes this season.

“Our holidays are filled with goodies that we love to feast on, so my suggestion is to make your holiday favorites healthier,” Arnold said. “Substitute skim milk for whole, plain Greek low or non-fat yogurt instead of sour cream or cream cheese and applesauce for butter.”

Substituting healthy ingredients during the preparation of favorite dishes is an excellent way to control fat and calorie intake over the holiday. Another way is by monitoring serving sizes and exercising regularly.

Liberal studies junior Eddie Shaw explained what he does to avoid packing on extra pounds during the season.

“I try to eat smaller portions, since the good food tends to have more carbs, fat and calories,” Shaw said. “Also, I bundle up, suck it up and do cardio at least one or two times a week to keep that extra holiday fat on the low.”

Supply chain and logistics junior Sherri Quach shared her secret to avoid overindulging over the holidays.

“It’s so hard to stay healthy over the holidays, but it is not impossible,” Quach said. “Black coffee is my secret. It always curbs my appetite and somehow satisfies my sweet tooth.”

Looking for more helpful holiday hints? Check out the 12 ways to avoid a Santa belly.

12 ways to avoid a Santa belly:

  1. Weigh-in: Before commencing in holiday festivities this season, weigh yourself. Weigh yourself daily each week. It may seem excessive, but this will help you keep tabs and avoid extreme weight gain.
  2. Set the tone: Studies show that working out in the morning can help ensure better behavior throughout the day.
  3. Preparation is key: Find common ingredient substitutes to lower calories and fat in your favorite dishes.
  4. Arrive potluck style: Create healthy versions of dishes and bring them in bulk for everyone to try. Take pride in telling your friends and family about its low-calorie and/or low-fat content.
  5. Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow: Throughout the day, drink plenty of water. Many times we think we are hungry, but in fact, we need a good thirst-quenching.
  6. Watch your watch: Monitor the times at which you’re eating. If you feel hungry and find that it has only been about an hour since you last ate, drink a glass of water and wait about 10 minutes and evaluate whether you’re really hungry or not.
  7. Don’t drink your calories: When it comes to beverages, it is wise to steer clear of drinks high in sugar. Skip out on sweet teas, lemonades or sodas. Grab a glass of unsweetened tea or water. If you are going to drink alcoholic beverages, pass up the beer or wine coolers. Have a glass of wine or spirits on the rocks instead.
  8. Take inventory: Before loading up your plate, take a quick look over all of the dishes the party has to offer. This will avoid you grabbing mashed potatoes but eyeing creamy macaroni and cheese or having them both.
  9. Your stomach is not a bank: Don’t starve yourself throughout the day. It’s important to eat well-balanced, small meals throughout the entire day, so you don’t send your metabolism dropping and soaring. What you save your appetite for throughout the day will cause you to “roll over” in discomfort.
  10. When in doubt, work it out: Use your time wisely. A short 15-minute workout can help resist those extra pounds. If you find some down time, go for a walk. Walk alone or invite family or friends. This is not vigorous to make you sweat, but it’s good quality time spent catching up with loved ones.
  11. The three-bite rule: First, get the essentials — turkey, ham or chicken. Next, you should choose three to four sides, but only enough to have about three bites of each: the first bite for that anticipated first taste, the second satisfying and the final farewell bite.
  12. Out of sight, out of mind: If you bring a dish to a party, use a disposable dish, so you can leave it there. Don’t bring home leftovers. It could be a tantalizing temptation.

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