Skip the fat talk and go directly to model behavior to avoid fights

December 9, 2013 by Nicole Wyatt
Skip the fat talk and go directly to model behavior to avoid fights

Politics and religion are considered unsafe topics of conversation at holiday dinners and parties, and experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham say avoiding another topic—weight—can help everyone be more merry and bright.

"People might gain weight during the five-to-six weeks of the , but the reality is most will not put on a substantial amount in that time period," said Josh Klapow, Ph.D., associate professor in the UAB School of Public Health.

A clinical psychologist, Klapow says discussing weight should be avoided during the holidays, even if opinions are rooted in concerns for a loved one's health. Bringing it up will likely only cause hurt feelings.

"Most people know when the scale has gone up," Klapow said. "Instead of pointing out what they may very well know, be a role model. You can take action by starting to eat healthy and exercise. Make it about you and let them model your behavior."

Beth Kitchin, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor of nutrition sciences, says there are several ways to make it a healthier holiday season for everybody.

"This may not be a time for but just weight maintenance, as it is important to enjoy your favorite foods—just not overdo it," Kitchen said. "My big tips for supporting someone would be to plan non-food activities; combine the holiday with activity by walking through the neighborhood with a friend to look at the holiday decorations, or take the kids ice skating or go Christmas caroling."

Since food is unavoidable this time of year, plan ahead to help loved ones without saying it.

"Go shopping for healthy foods and serve these at your home when family and friends are over to eat," Kitchin said.

Other healthy tips include:

  • Choose the best and leave the rest: Stick with the truly special treats that are most wanted this time of year while skipping out on filler snacks and foods.
  • Have a low-calorie drink available: People will be less likely to graze at the food table if they have consumed the right amount of water.
  • Master portion control: Serve portioned meals instead of eating family-style, and pretty much anything can be eaten. This will also help in staying away from seconds, especially on the highest calorie foods like sweets and desserts.

Kitchin also stresses rest as a strategy.

"Nobody should skimp on sleep," Kitchin said. "Studies show that you might overeat more when you don't get enough sleep, and you are also more likely to get sick."

Explore further: Two ways to battle the holiday bulge

Related Stories

Two ways to battle the holiday bulge

December 3, 2013
Though the Thanksgiving feast and leftovers are behind you, the holiday eating season has just begun. On average, Americans gain one or two pounds this time of year. Though that might not sound like much, the annual weight ...

3Qs: How to eat healthy around the holidays

November 23, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Overeating is common this time of year, between the large holiday feasts and more and more sweets creeping into the kitchen. With Thanksgiving only a few days away, we asked nutrition expert Katherine ...

10 tips for preventing weight gain over the holidays

December 6, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Many websites and magazine articles offer ideas about how to lose weight over the holidays, but Connie Diekman, director of university nutrition at Washington University in St. Louis, says that people ...

Happy, feel-good holiday seasons start with healthy choices at Thanksgiving, nutrition experts say

November 22, 2011
While most people only gain about a pound of weight during the holiday season, that pound may never come off, increasing the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese and the risk of related health problems, according to ...

Healthy eating tips for holiday parties

December 25, 2012
(HealthDay)—It's all too easy to overindulge in food and drink at holiday parties, but there are things you can do to make sure you don't stray too far off the path of good health, an expert says.

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.