Are You Ready for the Holidays?

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A study suggests that Americans probably gain only about a pound during the winter holiday season – but this extra weight accumulates through the years and may be a major contributor to obesity later in life.
This finding runs contrary to the popular belief that most people gain from 5 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

This is the conclusion reached by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases. The results of their study appeared in the March 23, 2000 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Here is a fun quiz you can take to see how much you know about avoiding weight gain during the holidays.

1. How many excess calories does it take to gain one pound?
a) 1500
b) 2500
c) 3500
d) 4500

2. Skipping meals is a good idea to conserve calories.
a) true
b) false

3. How many grams of fat will you avoid eating by removing the skin from a 3-ounce serving of turkey breast?
a) 1
b) 4
c) 6.6

4. What does a 3-ounce portion of turkey look like in relation to size?
a) deck of cards
b) one set of dice
c) man’s shoe

5. These holiday treats are fun to bake, but can really add up in calories because it is hard to eat just one. (Fill in the blank.) ________.

6. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, you should fill up about 2/3 of your plate with:
a) plant foods such as whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits
b) lean meat or fish
c) dessert

7. Eating plenty of (fill in the blanks) ___?and ___ will help you eat less fat and more fiber. You will feel fuller on fewer calories.

8. According to the National Weight Control Registry, people who lost 30 pounds or more and kept it off for at least a year did one of the following on a regular basis:
a) Exercised on a regular basis
b) Watched TV
c) Followed fad diets
1. c, 2. b (skipping meals will lead to over-eating), 3. c, 4. a, 5. cookies, 6. a, 7. fruits and vegetables, 8. a.

Congratulations! You know the basics for keeping weight off during the holidays. Increase your activity and moderate the amount of high-calorie foods you eat. Offset the extra calories with more activity - see the suggestions below.

Activity                                                     Calories Burned/Hour
Standing in line to see Santa                                 85
Wrapping gifts/writing Christmas cards        150
Building a snowman                                                160
Dressing for a party (from shower to shoes) 160
Trimming the Christmas tree                              160
Preparing a Christmas meal                                170
Christmas shopping                                                175
Christmas caroling                                                 180
Cleaning house (dusting, vacuuming, mopping) 180
Putting up outdoor lights                                     215
Grocery shopping                                                   240
Dancing at a party                                                  270
Carrying groceries upstairs                               545

*Calorie estimates are based on one hour of total activity for a 150 lb woman
Submitted by Neva Cochran, MS, RD.

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