Shelly Barnes: Check out the Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge

Shelly Barnes • Nov 7, 2017 at 10:43 PM

If you are like me, you love the holiday season – time with family and friends, holiday shopping and eating. The holiday season provides an abundance of opportunities for overindulgence.  

Research suggests the average American gains about 1 pound during the winter holiday season. This is much less than the 5-8 pounds commonly believed.  Unfortunately, researchers at the National Institutes of Health report most people never lose that extra pound of weight, so it accumulates year after year. Later in life, the extra weight may be a major contributor to obesity and the diseases associated with it.  

Join me and UT Extension as we embark on a new journey, the Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge.

The Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge lasts six weeks. It begins the Monday after Thanksgiving and runs through the Friday after New Year’s Day. The challenge offers tips about how you can prevent weight gain and stay fit during the busy holiday season. Each week during the six-week challenge, you will receive one email message that will help you to survive and thrive in spite of all the temptations to overeat and be inactive.  At the end of the six-weeks, you will be asked to complete a short survey. You don’t reveal your weight, just whether you maintained – gained or lost. This is a free program.

The holiday season is a minefield of overeating opportunities. Add the hectic festivities to your calendar, and exercise takes a backseat. Don’t let this combination allow you to gain weight. This challenge is for anyone wanting encouragement and accountability through the season….but still enjoy the food and fellowship.

It changes every week, but the goal is the same – maintain your starting weight through the holidays. 

You’ll receive recipes and more information via email once a week during the challenge, but each week there will be something new to attempt.

• Week 1: Eat from smaller plates or drink water with your meals.

• Week 2: Eat a healthy filling, nutritious snack before going to a holiday gathering or eat breakfast.

• Week 3: Focus on food labels to create a healthy meal makeover or get enough sleep.

• Week 4: Eat healthy lunches and snacks or avoid “tasting” while you are cooking.

• Week 5: Move during television commercials or park farther from store doors.

• Week 6: Choose a healthy meal when dining out or add a new fruit and vegetable to a meal this week.

Register for the Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge today by emailing me at sbarnes@utk.edu

UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state and provides equal opportunities in all programming and employment. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

For more information on this or other family and consumer sciences-related topics, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at sbarnes@utk.edu or 615-444-9584.

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