Tips for sticking to your diet during holidays, parties, reunions...

how to stick to a diet

Whether it's the holiday season, Super Bowl Sunday, 4th of July or any event in between, if you're like most people, you cringe at the thought of weight gain during get-togethers with family and friends. And the Halloween through New Year's months are the worst. The average American will gain 1.3 pounds during this time then work the next 5 months to lose it. You can't bear to miss out on all the scrumptious fare. Luckily, there are some simple steps you can take to keep your wellness and weight in check -- while satisfying your socializing.

Plan ahead
  1. Don't go to parties hungry. Eat a healthy snack before leaving home so you won't be as tempted by holiday delicacies.
  2. Think about the gatherings you will be attending and decide which treats you will enjoy and which ones you can forgo.
  3. Don't plan on starting a diet January 1; thinking about it can lead to binge eating during the holidays.
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Here are some tips for controlling your food intake during this most tempting of seasons:
  1. Cut corners where you can -- If you skip the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie, you can save yourself about 100 calories.
  2. Don't linger by the table holding the food; you may eat more pie than you planned!
  3. Prepare one plate of food, keep the portions small and eat slowly.
  4. Avoid alcohol as it is high in calories. Choose water or another low calorie beverage.

It's important to keep up your exercise regimen during the holidays. Try to get in 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week. If you can't fit in your full workout, try breaking down your daily exercise into 10-minute segments; it can be just as beneficial. Regardless, make sure you stay active!

Call in reinforcements
There is strength in numbers... recruit friends and family to form a holiday eating accountability and support group. Friends don't let friends linger by the food table!

This year, with some simple planning and determination, you can have your cake -- and eat it, too!

From the Richmond Health Research Desk...

Keeping vitamins in the kitchen or bathroom may reduce their effectiveness

West Lafayette, Indiana - Storing vitamins in humidity-prone areas like the kitchen and bathroom may reduce their effectiveness, researchers reported in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

protecting vitamin potencyCrystalline substances, including Vitamin C, some Vitamin B forms and other dietary supplements are prone to a process called deliquescence, in which humidity causes a water-soluble solid to dissolve.

Although the product will solidify once the humidity goes down, chemical instabilities can result in a loss of efficacy.

"Any chemical change or degradation that have occurred before resolidification don't reverse," said Lisa Mauer, associate professor of food science. "You don't regain a Vitamin C content after the product resolidifies or is moved to a lower humidity. The chemical changes we've observed are not reversible."

One sign that nutrients have degraded are brown spots on vitamins. Researchers suggest disposing of any supplements that show these signs of degradation.

inflammation and memory loss

Brain inflammation linked to memory decline

San Francisco, California - A study from the University of California at San Francisco showed that high levels of C-Reactive protein (CRP, a marker of inflammation) associated with lowgrade brain inflammation are linked with certain aspects of memory decline.

Researchers examined 76 people with detectable levels of CRP in their blood and 65 people without detectable levels. All the participants were given a learning task to measure verbal recall and underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure areas of the brain associated with memory.

Researchers discovered that those with higher levels of CRP fared worse on the memory test. The scientists could not determine if the inflammation caused the memory decline, but if it did, they suggested that simple anti-inflammatory treatments might help.

Family Health Information...

Tips for setting and achieving your family goals
setting family goals

We often set goals for ourselves, but how often do we set them for our family? Not only can family goals help improve things around the homestead, but they can also help equip children with important life skills. Children can learn:

• How to assess their strengths and weaknesses
• How to set priorities
• How planning affects the future
• The concept of personal accountability
• Time management skills

Call a family "meeting" and talk about a plan and vision for your family. Also, encourage children to set their own personal goals.

The following tips from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services can help you and your children successfully plan and achieve your 2011 goals:

  1. Be specific. When thinking about goals, be as exact as possible. People who set specific goals are more likely to succeed.
  2. Put it in writing. Write down exactly what you want to achieve and post it in a place where you will see it every day. This will help remind you of what you're working toward.
  3. Set realistic goals. When you think about setting goals, make sure that they are within your reach. Be mindful of your finances, schedule and other personal affairs.
  4. Develop an action plan. Create a timeline with steps toward your goal. Set deadlines for each step and cross them off as you go.
Additional family goal-setting tips include:

  • Believe in yourself. Stay positive about your progress. Share your goal with a friend and ask him to help keep your spirits up.
  • Be flexible. Keep in mind that setbacks can happen. Don't get discouraged and give up. Try again!
  • Ask for help. If you get stuck or need a little encouragement, don't be afraid to talk about it. You might be surprised what kind of support people offer.
  • Reward yourself. Acknowledge your achievements, even the small ones. Reaching a goal takes hard work and you should be proud of your efforts.

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