Doctor’s Tip: How to fight holiday weight gain |

Doctor’s Tip: How to fight holiday weight gain

Dr. Greg Feinsinger
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During the holidays, many people drink more alcohol than usual and eat more food, particularly calorie-dense food. News stories suggest the average American gains 7-10 pounds, and surveys indicate 5 pounds. Actual studies show that overweight people tend to put on an additional 5 pounds, but non-overweight people 1 pound. The problem is that we don’t tend to lose that extra pound, so holiday weight gain is cumulative over the years.

So what to do? Here are some suggestions:

1. Eat a healthy snack at home before going to a holiday party.

2. Stick to the recommended daily intake of alcohol, one drink a day for women and two for men, a drink being defined as 4 ounces of wine, 12 of beer, or 1 of hard alcohol. You will have just as much fun, and will feel better the next day.

3. Eat mindfully. Sophia Loren once said that the reason Americans are overweight is that they don’t enjoy their food enough (versus say Italy or France). So eat slowly, appreciating each bite of food. You will be less apt to overeat that way.

4. Avoid calorie-dense food such as the usual gravy, oils and sweets.

5. If you eat popcorn while watching football, try sprinkling nutritional yeast on it, and no-salt salt (potassium chloride, which is less addictive than regular salt) instead of butter or oil.

6. Don’t have food you want to avoid in the house, i.e. don’t depend on willpower.

7. Exercise daily. Most people have more time off over the holidays, so spend part of that exercising.

For people who eat a plant-based diet, weight gain is usually less of an issue. And remember Tofurkey, available at Whole Foods, which comes with plant-based gravy, looks and tastes like turkey, and has the same texture.

Dr. Feinsinger of Carbondale, who retired in February from Glenwood Medical Associates after 41 years as a family physician, will provide a health tip each Tuesday in the Post Independent. Contact him at

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