OGDEN -- The holiday season is upon us and with it comes an array of parties filled with cookies, candy, cake, pie, wine and ... weight gain.
During this time of year, many people resign themselves to the fact they'll probably gain five to 10 pounds, but that doesn't have to be the case.
"You can still enjoy the holidays without denying yourself," said Debbie Williams, who owns Timeless Medical Spa and Weight Loss Center with her husband, Dr. Brent Williams, in South Ogden. "Have a bite of the cake. Just don't eat the whole thing."
Williams said many of the holiday foods are packed with sugar, fat and calories and the best solution is not to have it in your home in the first place.
"You don't have to eat the gifts the neighbor brings over if it's going to sabotage your weight. You can say thank you very much and toss it," she said. "You can either let it go to your waist or let it go to waste. If you keep it around, you're going to eat it."
Think about giving healthy gifts to friends and family, Williams said. Oranges are a great idea. Homemade crafts are another.
"Just because it's Christmas doesn't mean you have to overeat and gain weight," she said.
So what are some tips Williams has to help us maintain our weight during this festive time of year? For starters, eat a breakfast with at least 30 grams of protein.
"That's critical," she said. "If you start off the day with at least 30 grams of protein you will be fuller longer. People think cereal, toast and juice is a great breakfast but it isn't."
When you start the day out with mostly carbohydrates, your blood sugar rapidly spikes and falls, leaving you hungry and eating more during the day.
"Have cottage cheese, low fat bacon, eggs, yogurt," she said. "And skip the juice. It's full of sugar. Eat the fruit instead."
Williams said it's important not to cut out the carbohydrates, but you have to choose the right ones in order to maintain your weight.
"Complex carbs such as whole grains, brown rice, and vegetables are the best," she said. "The RDA recommends that you should have about 130 grams per day. Just remember that not all carbs are created equally. Skip the white bread and pasta."
Williams also said to drink plenty of water and try drinking a full glass before you eat, because it will help fill you up so you won't overeat.
"You can have flavored water or even add a lemon to your water. The lemon actually helps fill you up, believe it or not. And remember that artificial sweeteners are not evil," she said.
Speaking of liquids, Williams said water is always the best choice. However, there are people who will want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or a latte during the holidays. Williams said in that regard, people need to be very careful.
"Some of the fancy coffees have as much as 900 calories in one drink," she said. "And alcohol has a lot of calories as well. In addition, it can increase your triglycerides and have an impact on your liver."
At a party, Williams suggests loading up on the vegetable tray, but still allowing yourself to have some of your favorites.
Chew your food slowly. If you gulp it down, you tend to eat more. After eating, get up and move.
"Move while you watch TV. Get up during the commercials. Carry your packages around the mall instead of dropping them off to your car and going back inside," she said. "Go for a walk. Walk the dog. Just move. Spend more time with your family. You don't have to be around food just because it's the holiday season."