Don't despair! Five ways to stop holiday weight gain

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The time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day can bring joy, excitement, special times with family and friends - and, if you're not careful, weight gain.

This year you have time to plan ahead and navigate these common diet-wrecking situations with ease. Here are some suggestions:

Q: How can I avoid overeating at parties?

A: More talking, less eating! As long as you make sure you're taking a bite, talking and taking breaks between eating, that's key. Also, don't arrive at a party ravenous. Instead, eat a small snack beforehand, such as an apple and peanut butter or lean turkey on whole-wheat bread.

Q: Can I still enjoy a drink or two?

A: Seasonal beverages like eggnog, combined with drinking more than usual, can tip the scales by the time you ring in the New Year. Sugary mixers are the main culprits when it comes to cocktails. Try sugar-free options or seltzer water as mixers instead.

Another factor to consider: Alcohol can lessen your inhibitions to eat unhealthy foods - just another reason to drink in moderation.

Q: Help! My office is overflowing with holiday goodies. What should I do?

A: The holidays can be a dieter's landmine in the office, with coworkers sharing the seasonal joy with plates of homemade cookies and boxes of chocolates.

Do you need to summon every ounce of willpower to avoid every treat? Not at all. Allow yourself a treat, but then be more physically active throughout the day.

Q: What do I do with a fridge full of leftovers?

A: Get them out of the house. A steady diet of high-fat traditional holiday staples won't help your waistline. If you've hosted a dinner, send doggie bags home with guests or take the extras to a local food kitchen.

Q: How do I overcome the urge to hibernate?

A: Packed calendars and chilly temperatures can make it almost impossible to exercise consistently throughout the holidays. Just try to get in 10 minutes of physical activity twice a day.

Whether it's Pilates, yoga, jumping jacks or a quick upper body workout video you find online, you'll reap the benefits and feel accomplished. Short bursts of exercise will help your waistline - and your mood.

Dr. Robert J. Kelly Jr. is a bariatric surgeon who is board certified in obesity medicine. He sees patients in Bluffton and Savannah. MemorialHealthDoctors.com

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