Pagoto shares tips to avoid piling on holiday pounds with #UMassMedChat

Twitter chat generates great holiday weight control strategies for work, home and parties

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

December 09, 2013

People trying to avoid putting on the pounds during the holidays have many options, according to health and fitness expert Sherry Pagoto, PhD. Dr. Pagoto, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of medicine at UMass Medical School, shared lots of clever—and even fun—tips to eat, drink and be merry without gaining weight when she hosted a @UMassMedNow Twitter chat (#UMassMedChat) on the topic.

Noting that most annual weight gain occurs in the months of November and December, Pagoto’s top tips in response to questions about how not to tip the scales this holiday season include:

  • Avoid leftovers at the office. To deal with “well-meaning coworkers bearing fabulous #holiday treats,” “Email your work group ASAP and make agreement to ban bringing leftovers/desserts to work to share with coworkers.” Also, “Bring healthy snacks to work so that you have a ‘go-to’ when coworkers bring in the junk food to avoid;”
  • Track your calories. Asked “What happens if I pig out at the holiday parties?” Pagoto replied, “Overeating 1-2 days/week is all you need to gain weight. You can make or break your weight by how you deal with parties;” and “I would suggest tracking calories, that way you can enjoy what you want but stay within limits.”
  • Step on the scale frequently. “Daily weighing is best! Recent studies by @drgarybennett’s group show it can be an effective weight loss habit,” according to Pagoto. “Daily weighing helps you learn what behaviors affect your weight, you learn a lot about yourself. Try it!”

Twitter chat participants also weighed in with what works for them.

“I try and stay active over the holidays –running (even in the snow), circuit training, just playing outside with the kids!” tweeted Lani Yearicks‏@armytbonegirl.

“I eat a large veggie salad or soup before holiday parties so I am not super hungry,” wrote Julie@PTrunningmomof4.

“Buying a food scale was the smartest decision I made during this season,” opined 300PoundsAndRunning‏@300lbsandrunnin.

Read the full chat for more ideas from Pagoto and her followers on Twitter @UMassMedNow, @DrSherryPagoto and #umassmedchat.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
How helpful are mobile weight-loss apps? First-of-its-kind study weighs in
Pagoto shares healthy holiday eating tips on NECN
EXPERT’S CORNER: Sherry Pagoto on five keys to weight loss