Column: Getting through the holidays - Part II

In my last column we discussed two areas that might help people get through the holidays while preventing unwanted pounds and inches. We discussed reducing stress and holiday journaling. Here are three more areas to help prevent unwanted pounds and inches.

1. Candy: What if someone gives you a box of candies as a gift? Think about the damage those empty calories can do. A small piece of chocolate may contain 150 calories. This would mean a two and a half pound box of chocolates could provide as much as 5,000 calories. Can you exercise enough to work off those calories? A 155-pound individual would have to walk over 10 hours or run over 7 hours.

Obviously, candy can lead to weight gain, and any amount of candy can crowd out nutritious food. If you have candy, do so in moderation. Try to exercise that same day to help burn extra calories. Encourage your family, or friends to give an alternative gift. There are many non-food items that can make you feel better than a piece of candy. For example, a favorite CD, a basket of soothing bath products, a certificate for a massage, flowers, or new outfit.

2. Alcohol: Unfortunately, along with resisting the temptation of holiday treats, there is also the temptation of celebrating with alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are not calorie-free. Alcohol yields seven calories per gram. An alcoholic beverage can provide twice as many calories per ounce as carbohydrates and fats. A 12-ounce can of beer has about 150 calories; a 4-ounce glass of wine provides about 90 calories. A glass of spiked eggnog about 300 calories. While on a weight loss program, you should not consume any alcohol; it interferes with the metabolism of nutrients and stimulates your appetite. Alcohol does not provide nutrients.

If you choose to drink alcohol, limit yourself to one serving. Try alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones. The best thing you can do for your weight is to not consume alcohol. Enjoy diet sodas or sugar-free hot cocoa.

3. Exercise: It's easy to fall off your exercise routine. Hectic schedules and travel make it easy to skip exercise. Do you ever wonder how fast your fitness level drops when you stop exercising? Not working out for two weeks will cause a slight decrease in fitness. The more fit you are, the less your fitness will decrease. If you don't work out for five weeks, your fitness level will decrease by about half.

The best thing you can do to maintain is fit in at least two aerobic workouts and one strength-training session per week. Try not to go more than two weeks without getting back into routine.

Thank you for reading Diet Center's tip of the week. For more information, call (928) 753-5066 or stop by 1848 Hope Ave. in Kingman.