Here come the holiday pounds

By Linda Luk

During the holiday season, food is everywhere, ranging from party finger food to dinner-time turkey.

It’s no surprise that many people will gain a pound or two during the holidays.

Stress during the holidays can lead to emotional eating, said Natasha Schnell, graduate assistant and counselor for University Resources for Women.

“People are so busy,” she said. “People often have parties and get-togethers to go to, which often center around eating and holiday food.”

Junior communication major Richard Bernardo indulges more because of tradition.

“I definitely eat more during the holidays, partly because I feel obliged to, because it’s the ‘eating’ holiday, and partly because it’s good food,” he said. “I don’t think stress has anything to do with it.”

Other reasons for eating more during the holidays include turning to food when worn out and having a packed schedule with no reasonable time for food.

Senior accountancy major Kevin Wong said he also eats more during the holidays.

“I eat more because I am home and there is more food available,” he said. “We eat family dinners, which has a lot more food than I am used to when I am at school.”

To combat these temptations, Schnell offered some advice.

“Try not to schedule yourself too tightly,” she said. “Pick and choose events to go to, try to build some boundaries, and don’t set expectations too high. Try to relax and enjoy the company and the holiday season.”

Other ways to avoid weight gain during the holidays include eating low-fat and low-calorie food, being sensible with the amount of food, socializing away from the snack tables and consuming less alcohol, which contains empty calories.

It also is common for many people to make weight loss their New Year’s resolution.

“Start your New Year resolution early and get in the habit of smaller portions,” Schnell said. “Exercise moderately this holiday season and focus on friends and family.”

It also is important to not beat yourself up after over-indulging on food, Schnell said.

“Practice making small healthy changes throughout the New Year,” she said.