MELROSE PARK, Ill., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Fifty percent of U.S. adults struggle with their weight, and special family meals, holiday buffets and free drinks can make the struggle harder, an expert says.
Jeffrey Gersten of Gottlieb Memorial Hospital near Chicago, who counsels participants in Gottlieb's Medical Weight-Loss Program, says navigating the holidays can be stressful.
"Close family situations, the ready availability of trigger foods, such as cookies, kugels and candies, unhappy memories of past holidays -- all add stress to make keeping your waistline in check a challenge," Gersten said in a statement. "Don't starve yourself either. Your blood sugar level will drop, creating a hunger that is unstoppable, which will lead to overeating usually high-calorie foods. Stick to eating three balanced meals."
To prevent going overboard this holiday season, Gersten suggests:
-- Make a plan for holiday eating. Avoid trigger foods that you have trouble eating in a moderate portion. Provide yourself healthy options even if you have to bring them yourself to parties.
-- Get a grip if you polished off the entire carton of French onion dip and the bag of chips. Take control of the situation immediately and don't tell yourself that because you've overindulged, all bets are off and everything is now fair game.
-- Give yourself a timeout by taking a walk to enjoy decorations, playing a seasonal CD, or just taking a deep breath to relax and shake off stress.
-- Talk to a friend, or fellow partygoer, about your desire to eat healthy and enlist their aid in not encouraging you to "just try this."