Spec. Jean-Rene Louis, a nutrition case specialist in the Department of Nutrition enjoys a meal in the Brooke Army Medical Center dining facility, Dec. 8, 2020. Staff at BAMC’s Nutrition Department encourage everyone to focus on eating healthy during the holiday season and throughout the year. (U.S. Army photo by Daniel Calderón)
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spec. Jean-Rene Louis, a nutrition case specialist in the Department of Nutrition enjoys a meal in the Brooke Army Medical Center dining facility, Dec. 8, 2020. Staff at BAMC’s Nutrition Department encourage everyone to focus on eating healthy during the holiday season and throughout the year. (U.S. Army photo by Daniel Calderón) (Photo Credit: Daniel J. Calderón) VIEW ORIGINAL
Spec. Jean-Rene Louis, a nutrition case specialist in the Department of Nutrition chooses a beverage to go with his meal in the Brooke Army Medical Center dining facility, Dec. 8, 2020. Staff at BAMC’s Nutrition Department encourage everyone to focus on eating healthy during the holiday season and throughout the year. (U.S. Army photo by Daniel Calderón)
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spec. Jean-Rene Louis, a nutrition case specialist in the Department of Nutrition chooses a beverage to go with his meal in the Brooke Army Medical Center dining facility, Dec. 8, 2020. Staff at BAMC’s Nutrition Department encourage everyone to focus on eating healthy during the holiday season and throughout the year. (U.S. Army photo by Daniel Calderón) (Photo Credit: Daniel J. Calderón) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas, Dec. 21, 2020 – Overindulgence in food is one holiday tradition we should all leave behind this year.

Americans tend to gain one to two pounds on average during the holiday season.

Over time, excessive weight gain can lead to health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

Here are some tips to reduce your chances of gaining weight this holiday season.

Portion Control

People who put more food on their plate tend to eat more food. This may seem obvious, but a study in 2005 found that people who ate out of a special bowl that was designed to secretly refill without them knowing consumed 73 percent more soup than people eating out of a normal bowl. They also didn’t perceive that they were eating any more than usual. By placing less food on your plate, you will reduce the amount of food you eat. Consider using smaller plates, bowls and cups this holiday season to help you control your portion size. Try to resist the urge to go back for second helpings.

Avoid Drinking Calories

Although a liquid calorie (juice, soda, alcohol) is nearly identical to a solid calorie from food, it is much easier to over-consume liquids. A study in 2012 found that people consuming calories in the form of a beverage felt less full and greater hunger than people who ate the same amount of calories in the form of solid food. Surprisingly, having two eight-ounce glasses of eggnog is, on average, the caloric equivalent of eating a double-cheeseburger from a fast food chain. Consider reducing your caloric intake from liquid beverages.

Maintain Physical Activity

While exercise shouldn’t be an excuse to overindulge, physical activity has many health benefits, including reducing the urge to overeat. Light exercise following a meal may even improve your body’s use of the food you consumed, measured by the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood. Exercise leads to better glucose control and can reduce the body’s need for as much insulin. Exercise has also been shown to improve anxiety, stress and depression. Starting or maintaining a physical activity program is a great way to improve your mood and metabolism this holiday season.

Above all, be sure to have a safe, socially-responsible holiday season. Enjoy yourself and remember that small changes seem trivial, but they can add up to amazing transformation over time. If you do find that you’ve overindulged and want to meet with one of our amazing registered dieticians, feel free to make an appointment with the Nutrition Clinic by calling 210-808-3609/2232.