Holiday Health Tips To Get Your New Year Started Right

Published: Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 7:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 22, 2012 at 7:01 p.m.

Many people will start 2013 vowing to be healthier, taking on weight-loss goals and new exercise routines.

But in south Louisiana this can sometimes be a tricky prospect as the holiday season can stretch well into February with Mardi Gras to celebrate.

How do you make your new year of dieting and exercise a success?

Local dieticians said the best key is to set realistic goals.

Jamie Luke, a Morrison Health Care dietician at Terrebonne General Medical Center in Houma, said you probably shouldnt plan on starting a diet during the holiday season. Instead focus on trying to maintain your weight.

Research shows the average American gains about 1 pound over the course of the holiday season. But since we add Mardi Gras into the mix in Louisiana, adding a month or two more of parties and king cake, its safer to assume a gain of 2 pounds.

That may not seem like a lot, but most people dont lose those holiday pounds. That can add up to a gain of 10 to 20 pounds over a decade.

There are a couple of tricks to manage your weight during the holidays.

Luke suggested families plan diversions besides a big holiday meal. Take a walk or a bike ride together. Short, 15-minute walks twice a day can be easier to integrate into a busy holiday schedule. Talk a family member into taking a quick walk around the neighborhood after a meal.

Instead of baking cookies to decorate together, take on non-edible projects like making wreaths or ornaments.

In addition, dont skip meals to make up for a large meal later in the day, Luke said. Youre more likely to overeat, especially if you skip breakfast.

A balanced breakfast serves the dual purpose of filling you up with healthy energy and will also kick start your metabolism, said Eric Sedotal a Morrison Health Care dietician at Terrebonne General Medical Center.

In addition, drinking a glass of water can help cut off hunger pangs. Often when we feel hungry, we are actually dehydrated. Start with a full glass of water before you head for a snack.

Luke also warned not to drink your calories. Alcoholic beverages, a common indulgence during Christmas, New Years and Mardi Gras, can pack in a lot of calories. A glass of beer, punch or eggnog might be 200 to 500 calories per glass. Stick to sparkling water, diet soda or even red wine.

Finally, you can reach for your holiday favorites, but remember to practice portion control. Add more vegetables on your plate than anything else, and limit your carbohydrates such as bread and high-fat items like cheese, fried foods and desserts.

Dont overindulge on one food because you like it. But if there is a treat that only comes around during the holiday season, dont deny yourself. Take a small slice and enjoy.

Sedotal said a lot of people approach dieticians during the holidays for advice about setting New Years goals.

His primary advice is to be realistic with your expectations.

Dont tell yourself that youll lose 50 pounds in three weeks, Sedotal said. First of all, thats unhealthy, and people that lose weight quickly tend to put it back on.

Strive for a diet and nutrition routine you can manage over the long term.

Set realistic goals like running every weekday or only eating dessert on Fridays. These small steps will eventually add up, and accomplishing goals will motivate you.

Track your progress not by what the scale says, but by how you look and feel, Sedotal said.

And try to make changes in your lifestyle slowly so that theyll stick, like cutting out high-fat items you love slowly over time.

Staff Writer Nikki Buskey can be reached at 857-2205 or nicole.buskey@houmatoday.com.

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  1. Reply

    Health Diet Tips To Keep Myself Skinny And Healthy? I am 115lbs and I am 13. I was wondering if anyone had any health tips to keep myself healthy.

    I was looking into this diet where I would start with eating protein and gradually work my way into eating my fruits and vegetables. Does anyone know what this diet is called?

    (Please, No comments with additude. Any other comments will be appreciated. Thanks so much!)
    Also, I don’t want to be on a diet plan (Such as Weight Watchers). Thanks!

      • HealthNut
      • December 23, 2012


  2. Reply

    How Can I Get Healthy? -Health Tips? This year, I made it a point to become healthy. I have lost some weight and got rid of some acne.

    I really want to be healthy, and make sure that I look healthy.

    Can you give me some all over health tips?
    Im a teen girl by the way.

      • HealthNut
      • December 23, 2012


      The best advice I can give you is exercise daily and eat well. Eat at least 5 portions of fruit or vegetables a day. Try to cut out as much sugar and snacks as you can manage. Drink plenty of water. Exercise for about 30 minutes a day, remember this does not have to be running a million miles and lifting 10 ton weights. Walking is an excellent form of exercise and is great because you can walk briskly around shops whilst looking at really cute outfits!

      I hope this helps!

    • Hg
    • December 23, 2012

    Do These Health Tips Actually Work? 1 apple / day – no doctor
    1 lemon / day – no fat
    1 cup of milk / day – no bone problems
    3 ltrs water / day – no diseases…

    Also what are some losing weight health tips?

      • HealthNut
      • December 23, 2012

      No, these health ‘tips’ are actually myths. It’s all very healthy to do that, but no.

      To lose weight, all you can really do is exercise more and eat healthy and try to keep your calories at around 1600 a day. It’s good to drink homemade lemonade that tastes pretty sour and not sweetened very much- it’s good for your metabolism. Tea is good, fruits and vegetables are good. It’s a great time to get active because it’s summer and you’ll sweat more, which is awesome for your body to flush out toxins and such. I like making fruit smoothies and adding spinach or kale (you can’t taste it and it’s so good for your body- not to mention filling). When you snack during the day, only snack on ‘raw’ foods like fruits and vegetables, or maybe a few almonds.

      Good luck!

  3. Reply

    What Is The Best Health Advice You’ve Given Or Received? We could probably all use a few health tips to live a better life, what do you want to share?

      • HealthNut
      • December 23, 2012

      Limit processed foods

      try to eat as much natural food as you can such as vegetbales, fruit, brown rice, wholemeal-grain bread, fish, chicken, nuts, and healthy fats.

      Not only do you look better but you feel better both body and mind

  4. Reply

    Anyone Have Some Good Tips For A College Student Who Wants To Lose About 35 Pounds? Basically Im pretty lethargic due to the studying….I do a fair bit of walking and I dont eat fast food more than a coupla times a month, but I seem to keep gaining weight. Basically I need some health tips or some way of beginning to get rid of the buddha belly.

      • HealthNut
      • December 23, 2012

      As a fellow student, I understand your struggle. My butt feels constantly glued to a seat and I don’t have the time or attention for planning healthy meals. It’s tough but I manage to control my weight and even lose weight every now and then with some pretty easy tactics. Since you want to lose it, you’ll have to get serious. I would highly recommend cardio workouts. Depending on your fitness level and personal tastes you could try at home workouts like Tae Bo or you can hit the gym (in which case walking or jogging on the tredmill mixed with weights would be effective). Basically, make yourself workout even when you feel tired from studying or a long day. Next thing you know, you’ll look forward to the stress relief. Remember to watch what you eat and consider counting calories…you may be surprised how much you eat daily! Get sleep. Lack of sleep stresses the bod out and you may compensate with food. And you definitely will have less energy for workouts. GOOD LUCK!

  5. Reply

    I’m Trying To Loose Weight, What Are Some Health Tips? I’m making a modeling portfolio, and I know I need to be slimmer. What are some health tips, such as eating veggies, and colors to dress in the make you look slimmer? What is skinny for height 5’8″? I am Indian (India) & German and I have blue eyes.

      • HealthNut
      • December 23, 2012

      Unfortunately there are no easy ways to permanently lose weight and most people who lose weight regain it all.

      A vegetarian or vegan diet for the rest of your life might perhaps be a good option as very few vegetarians or vegans are overweight.

      If you want a life changing permanent weight loss you need to follow a maintenance diet for the rest of your life after you reach your target weight with one of the many diets you can choose from.

      You can see further details in a web search for “how to lose weight and keep it off”.

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