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Surviving the Holidays - Plant Strong

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November 28, 2012

Alison is a Registered Dietitian specializing in health and fitness nutrition. She is the co-author of �Go Beyond Good: The Trail to a Lifetime of Health and Vitality!� Do you have a question for Alison? Email us at

You have worked hard all year, following a structured fitness plan, eating a well-balanced, plant-strong diet, and reducing your stress levels to help you achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. Congratulations on an excellent job!

The true test of temptation always comes at the end of the year, during the holiday season. There are more �goodies� in the office, more parties to attend, more food-themed gifts, and all those traditional holiday desserts. Depending on which study you read, a person can gain anywhere from 1-10 pounds between Thanksgiving Day and New Year�s Day.

Since food is an important part of many celebrations and family traditions, it�s essential to have an Action Plan to avoid weight gain this holiday season.

The Healthy Holiday Action Plan

  1. Start the day with a well-balanced breakfast. Chose fiber-rich whole grains, an assortment of colorful fruit, tofu veggie scramble, or soy yogurt with muesli. Include a few nuts/seeds as well.
  2. Eat smaller snacks throughout the day. Do not starve yourself all day in order to eat a larger meal later. This action will cause you to overeat and consume more calories than if you had eaten lightly during the day.
  3. Don�t let your fitness routine take a holiday break. Your daily calorie intake may increase which means your calorie expenditure should be maintained or increased. Exercise can also help relieve holiday stress.
  4. Pay close attention to liquid or cocktail calories. Alcohol can be high in calories. Compare a 10 ounce Bloody Mary with 125 calories to a 4.5 ounce pi�a colada with 245 calories. A red or dry white wine contains around 125 calories in a 5 ounce serving.
  5. Increase your daily water intake. Chronic dehydration may slow your metabolism. Monitor the color of your urine. If you are adequately hydrated, your urine should be a pale lemonade color. Keep in mind some medications and vitamins may alter urine color.
  6. Balance each meal with adequate carbohydrate, protein, and fat. When you eat a whole food, plant-based diet, it�s easy to consume the right balance of these essential macronutrients. Limit your intake of high sodium foods like meat analogs and low-fiber processed grains. While at holiday parties, take only a �sample� or �bite� size of higher calorie foods.
During this holiday season focus on weight maintenance rather than weight loss. If you still have some pounds to lose, now is not the time to start a new weight loss plan or make any major dietary changes. Lastly, sign-up for some winter fitness events in your community or register for a January marathon somewhere warm and sunny.

Have a Happy Holiday Season!

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