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TWU Experts Provide Tips For Healthy Holiday Habits

TWU Experts Provide Tips For Healthy Holiday Habits

Holiday Feature


DENTON — The holidays can be a tough time for those who are watching their weight. Smorgasbords served up at family gatherings and office parties can lead even the most determined dieter to yield to temptation.

One slip shouldn't mean the end to your efforts, however. In fact, an occasional indulgence can actually help in dieting, according to a Texas Woman's University professor and a nutritionist with the university's Wellness Center.

“An unrelentingly severe diet makes people resentful, hungry and often just plain miserable,” said Dr. Sally Stabb, associate professor of psychology and philosophy at TWU. “It's OK to allow yourself some leeway on the weekends, or one day a week or for one of your holiday meals.”

Stabb said the holidays can bring increased pressure to eat, as social rituals and celebrations almost always involve eating.

“During the holidays, many people have multiple rounds of visiting friends and family — especially if they have step, blended or divorced families in which a number of sets of relatives must be visited,” she said. In these situations, Stabb said, people can easily find themselves at a luncheon followed by a dinner, “all with the expectant eyes and smiles of family or friends looking on. So we feel obligated to eat in order not to be considered rude.”

That may help explain why most Americans gain 4 pounds during the holidays.

Melissa Hendricks, facilities manager and nutritionist with the TWU Wellness Center, stressed the importance of exercise in warding off those extra pounds.

“An occasional splurge is not bad,” she said. “In order to lose weight, it's more important to exercise regularly than to skip sweets.”

Hendricks said people should make every effort to stay active during the holidays and stick as closely as possible to their regular exercise program. However, she said, people shouldn't worry if their entire exercise program won't fit into their holiday schedule.

“Any exercise you do is good. It doesn't matter if you can't fit in a whole hour.”

For those who also are counting calories, Hendricks said it's important to cut back on liquid calories.

“We tend to compensate for eating, but not for drinking,” she said. Those who choose low-calorie foods often continue to drink high-calorie beverages such as sodas or alcoholic beverages at holiday gatherings, she said.

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For Further Information Contact:

Karen Treat
Senior Copywriter
Tel: (940) 898-3456
e-mail: ktreat@twu.edu