Medical Minute 12-6: Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

By: Andrew McIntosh Email
By: Andrew McIntosh Email

We all have our holiday favorites, but overindulge and you'll pay the price.

According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, most people don't ever lose the one to two pounds they gain during the holidays. The news is worse for those already overweight. They pack on five pounds. But you can get through the holidays without busting your waistline.

"So trying to balance out your meal and not choosing everything in the higher calorie version but maybe picking amongst your favorites," said Holly Pudwill, dietician.

Start with appetizers…skip the cocktail meatballs weighing in at 85 calories each and load up on shrimp cocktail with just 13 calories per shrimp. Now let's talk turkey. Should you go white meat or dark? While white meat has less calories, about 46 in an ounce…dark meat only has four more per ounce.

"So if you're eating a normal serving size like 4 or 5 ounces, you're really only saving 20 or 25 calories."

Just trim the skin, that's where most of your fat and calories hide. Pecan pie can pack a whopping 500 calories a slice. Try this and slash 200 calories.

"You can use a little bit less nuts and add in some oats. And that's going to bump up the fiber while taking down the fat."

Finally treat alcohol, desserts, entrees and appetizers equally.

"So you wouldn't have 4 desserts at a party-so picking maybe only 2. Maybe you're going to have a drink and you know and entrée or you're going to have appetizers and dessert. Not all of them."

Keeping your holidays tasty, without weighing you down.

For more information on other series produced by Ivanhoe Broadcast News contact John Cherry at (407) 691-1500,


BACKGROUND: According to government statistics, more than half of all adult Americans are overweight. Previous studies suggested that Americans gain an average of 0.4 to 1.8 pounds each year during their adult lives. It was unknown, however, if people gained weight at a steady rate throughout the year, or just at certain times, such as during the winter holiday season. A new study suggests that Americans probably gain about a pound during the winter holiday season-but this extra weight accumulates through the years and may be a major contributor to obesity later in life. This finding runs contrary to the popular belief that most people gain from five to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. (

NUTRITION STRATEGIES: Some nutrition strategies to maintain your weight during the holidays, include:

• Get Moving: One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, sustained aerobic activity.
• Aim for seven-a-day: Making sure you eat seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day is a great way to help fill-up your stomach but not your calorie level.
• Limit to one-a-day: Allow yourself one small serving of a cookie or piece of candy each day during the holiday season.
• Never go to a party hungry
• Be in charge of your choices: choose small plates of food, avoid sauces made from cream, half and half, or meat drippings, limit alcohol to 1 or 2 servings and pick low-calorie beverages.
• Say No politely: Many times you feel forced to eat because people keep putting it in front of you. Learn to say no politely, such as "No thank you, I’ve had enough. Everything was delicious" or "I couldn’t eat another bite. Everything tasted wonderful".
• Focus on socializing: Conversation is calorie-free (

HOLLY PUDWILL: Holly Pudwill, MS, RD, LD/N, is a licensed, registered dietitian with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition from Florida State University. Holly has previous experience working with eating disorder clients in an inpatient setting at Canopy Cove in Tallahassee, Florida. In addition to facilitating nutrition groups and meal experiences at Blue Horizon Eating Disorder Services, LLC, Holly works as a consultant dietitian in the Orlando area.

For More Information, Contact:

Holly Pudwill, MS, RD, LD

You must be logged in to post comments.

Password (case sensitive):
Remember Me:
WCTV 1801 Halstead Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32309
Copyright © 2002-2016 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 135131333 -
Gray Television, Inc.