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Plan Ahead to Shed Holiday Pounds

CancerWise - December 2007

To prevent diseases such as cancer, people are encouraged to maintain a healthy weight. But after the holidays, many people are left with extra pounds – a gift they wish they could return.

Developing a plan in advance can help you get started on post-holiday weight loss and see more immediate results.

10 tips to get back on track

These suggestions may help you lose holiday pounds:

Think positively – A positive attitude will help keep you focused on your goals and action steps.

Make it a habit to walk more – Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking on most days. This can be done in two 15-minute sessions. Increase other daily activities, such as taking stairs, walking the dog, etc.

Try new activities – Do yard work, wash your car, dance, walk around the park or join an aerobics class.

Eat breakfast – Starting out with a healthy breakfast can help control your hunger and prevent overeating throughout the day.

Choose healthy snacks – Fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals and fiber. They’re also usually lower in calories than traditional snack foods. “Light” yogurts provide the protein and calcium of dairy without extra calories from added sugar.

Drink more water – Replace sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages with water to limit unnecessary calories. Adequate hydration may aid weight loss.

Experiment with new fruits – Try replacing part of your cereal with small amounts of fresh or dried fruits (mango, papaya and berries); top light ice cream with fruit (peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon).

Choose more vegetables – At meals, fill two-thirds of your plate with vegetables. Fresh, steamed or stir-fried are best. Vegetables are low in calories but rich in fiber, which may help prevent overeating by making your stomach feel full.

Choose grilled, baked or broiled meats, poultry or fish – These cooking methods tend to have less fat. Avoid fried foods, foods cooked in butter or foods basted with oil and those topped with cheese or heavy sauces.

Eliminate extra calories – Replace high-calorie condiments such as butter, margarine, high-fat salad dressings and mayonnaise with low-fat/nonfat varieties.

To help you remember these simple steps, post them in your kitchen.

– Adapted by Darcy De Leon from information developed by M. D. Anderson's Department of Clinical Nutrition

© 2015 The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center