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Nutritionist's Tips: Managing Holiday Weight Gain - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Nutritionist's Tips: Managing Holiday Weight Gain

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Sweets are a staple of the holiday season, and so is being afraid to step on a scale. But, you can still enjoy good holiday food without needing to make a New Year's resolution to lose weight.

Nutritionist Peggy Wright says you should focus on the quality of the food you eat and the timing of meals. Don't go to parties hungry. Wright says it will make you eat more at the actual event. Instead, eat balanced, low-calorie meals throughout the day and do not take a sumo wrestler's approach to eating.

"They are very effective at gaining weight," Wright said of sumo wrestlers.  The way they do it is by not eating anything for breakfast, not eating anything for lunch, working out, then eating a large amount of food and finally resting.

"Now does that sound like a typical American pattern of skipping breakfast, and then not having much lunch, and then having a very busy day, and then going home and having a big dinner? Yea!" Wright said. "It makes it really hard to keep things under control."

Also, she said you should plan ahead and pick certain foods to eat at parties that you know you really like, and when you do decide to dig in, grab a smaller plate.

"If we have a big plate we tend to fill it, and if we fill it, we tend to eat it, so taking a smaller plate, it actually kind of fools the brain into thinking we ate more," Wright said.

It's also important to balance sweets with something a little more nutritious.

"People who are healthy, people who stay healthiest the longest, are eating a lot of fruits and vegetables," she said.

And don't be fooled into thinking all bad calories are in food: sugary drinks and alcohol are a big factor in holiday weight gain.

Another tip is to keep a notebook or use an app on your phone or electronic device to keep track of everything you eat. That way you can be more accountable.

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