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FOODIE RUSTICA: NOVEMBER 2008

Tips for Keeping the Holiday Weight Off

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(Nov. 2o, 2008)—It's That Time of Year. With Thanksgiving just one week away, many of us will be starting our annual rituals of overeating. And let's face it, with Holiday parties, family gatherings and company potlucks, it will yet again be tough to resist the urge to splurge. But there are ways you can enjoy Holiday eating and, at the same time, keep your weight down.

Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, registered dietitian and medical nutritionist therapist/board certified sports dietitian and co-founder of Nutrition for You (www.nu4you.net), offers these practical tips for keeping the weight off this holiday season:

Start your day with a high-fiber breakfast. Eating breakfast will not only jump start your metabolism but will also help to control your appetite for the rest of the day. Breakfast skippers tend to overeat at lunch and/or get the incredible "sweet tooth" at around three to four o'clock in the afternoon. If you skip breakfast you are beginning the day in a deficit that your body naturally wants to make up. This can lead to greater caloric consumption throughout the day.

Eat every 3-4 hours. Or have a snack in order to not skip meals or eat at irregular meal times, which can result in the risk of overeating.

Share portions when eating out at restaurants. This not only helps you to eat less, it makes the occasion more intimate and special.

Bring some healthy snacks with you. Carry snacks such as five dried apricots, six almonds, and one Babybel lite cheese in a plastic bag so that the desire to grab those holiday sweets is diminished.

Eat slowly. By enjoying one another's company, it takes longer to chew and digest the food. After about 20 minutes, our bodies recognize satiety which will assist one from over-eating.

Bring a healthy dish to the holiday festivities. Not only will others enjoy the dish, but you'll have something light and healthy to eat too.

Let yourself enjoy the food, in small doses. When at the party, don't deny yourself the pleasure of tasting food. Instead, choose your few favorite dishes you'd like to try and take small portions of each. A good portion size would be the size of your palm.

Set your Holiday-eating goals in advance. In other words, do not make food the center of attention. Instead, focus on enjoying other activities. Mentally go through the event, picturing yourself as a success.

Stick with your plan. By maintaining and planning, we can be prepared for times when we might be hungry. manuel_villacorta

About the source: Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, is a San Francisco-based registered dietitian and medical nutritionist therapist/board certified sports dietitian who empowers people to make necessary lifestyle changes for a longer, healthier life. In 2007, he was named Best Nutritionist by San Francisco's Best of Citysearch for his work with medical nutrition therapy and weight control management. He is also the co-founder of Nutrition for You (www.nu4you.net), an online resource offering tips for healthy eating and online consultations.

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