Do you make a New Year’s resolution every year? How long does this resolution stick around on your to-do
list? Many of us start the year with the best intentions only to fall back into our old, unhealthy habits by February or March. This year, make healthy positive changes instead of resolutions and look forward to a healthier year ahead.
Richard S. Katz, MD, Internal Medicine at NorthShore, shares some healthy changes he would tell all his patients to make this year:
What healthy changes do you plan to make this year?
Are your waistbands a little tighter each year when January arrives? It’s not just your imagination. Studies
show that the average American gains between one and two pounds during the holiday season, and up to 14% of Americans gain five pounds or more. This fairly small gain tends to increase body fat percentage, which may partially explain why we often have the
illusion of a more significant increase around the holidays.
Holiday parties, rich holiday food, the cold weather keeping you indoors and holiday stress can all contribute to this seasonal weight gain. And, though the gain may be modest, for many it could stick around for the rest of the year.
Weight loss doesn’t have to be a New Year’s resolution this year. Start your year off right with these simple tips from
Jeni Panicko, RD, LDN at NorthShore, and enjoy the holiday season full of health and zero regrets:
Focus on maintenance not weight loss. Enjoy the holidays! If you start out trying to deny yourself the food that you enjoy, you’re likely to overindulge eventually. Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays; try to maintain your weight.
The holidays can be stressful enough without the added pressure of a diet.
Have a healthy snack before you head out the door. Holiday parties are a great time to catch up with friends and family, but they aren’t the best place to find healthy snacks. When your favorite high-fat holiday fare is on offer, it’s not
easy to practice moderation, especially if you show up hungry. Eat a healthy snack before you hit the buffet line to avoid overindulging. If you don’t have time to eat beforehand, grab a small plate and ensure most of it is filled with healthy fruits and veggies.
Keep moving! The weather outside might be frightful, but don’t let that keep you from staying active during the holiday season. There are many outdoor activities that not only embrace the cold but are big calorie-burners for the entire family,
like ice-skating and cross-country skiing (no hills required). Make these family activities and you’ve started a new healthy holiday tradition. Keep it simple, layer up and go for a walk; take the stairs at work before your holiday days off instead of the
elevator; do your holiday shopping at the store instead of online.
Don’t forget your fruits and vegetables. Seasonal fruits and veggies aren’t just a summer thing. Apples, cranberries, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage, leeks and pumpkin are all in season during the colder months of the year, and they
can be prepared in a multitude of healthy and delicious ways. Fill your plate and don’t regret it.
Make some small substitutions that make a big difference. Healthy substitutions can make a huge difference when it comes to calories and fat. Use lower-fat ingredients in your holiday cooking to create healthier versions of your favorite
holiday foods. Consider substituting skim milk for whole. In many baked goods, applesauce can replace oil. And the best thing about making these healthy substitutions is that, in terms of taste, you won’t notice a thing.
How to you maintain your weight during the holidays?
Who’s to blame for the dramatic increase in childhood obesity these days—it has more than tripled in the past 30
years according to the
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? While there may be many factors at fault—more junk food and sugary drink options, increased television and computer time, lack of physical activity (both at school and at home) and larger portion sizes—it
is important to set a good example to help your children maintain a healthy weight.
The effects of childhood obesity have both short and long-term consequences, which is why addressing the issue before it is too late is imperative. Obese youth and teens are more likely to be obese as adults, and are thereby more susceptible to health problems
commonly associated with being overweight (such as: high cholesterol, heart problems, hypertension, etc.)
Goutham Rao, MD, Primary Care Physician at NorthShore offers the following tips for parents to encourage healthy eating, an active lifestyle and a happy child:
What changes have you made to encourage a healthy lifestyle for your children?
Have questions about childhood obesity? Join Dr. Rao for a live medical chat on Tuesday, March 27 at 1:30p.m. He’ll answer your questions about how to institute incremental behavioral changes into your child’s every day routine to help with weight loss. Save
the date and
submit your early questions today.