Beating holiday weight gain

Dieting during the holidays is probably one of the worst ideas ever. While everybody else is scarfing eggnog, sausage balls and candy, you're loitering by the veggie plate, trying to stick to a sensible eating plan.

That sounds great in theory. In practice, it's easy to feel deprived and start nibbling to make up for lost time. And before you know it, you've picked up a couple of pounds and are facing the New Year with the same old resolution: Lose weight.

Try to hit the middle ground instead. Aim for maintaining your weight during the holidays, a strategy that allows you to eat some favorite treats without overindulging. Start revamping your eating plan after the holidays, and begin by making small changes you can stick to.

If you're at a buffet, fill your plate once and move to another room to avoid mindless nibbling.

Be ruthless. Don't love what you're eating? Throw it away and try something else. Don't finish it just because it's on your plate.

If you're drinking, choose wine or beer instead of high-calorie drinks like eggnog and many cocktails. (A 5-ounce serving of eggnog with bourbon has 236 calories; a 5-ounce glass of red wine contains 125 calories; a bottle of beer, about 150.)

For a potluck, bring a dish that fits into your eating plan. Take smaller portions of tempting food that's usually off-limits, and fill in with your healthy selection.

Wear tailored or snug-fitting clothes. Stretch waistbands are an invitation to overeat.

Stay active, whether it's walking around the mall to check out all the markdowns, or up the block to see what the neighbor's holiday decorations look like.

Want more suggestions? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has some tips for watching your diet at the holidays.

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