Holiday Weight Management

Surviving Feasting Season

From Halloween through Valentine's Day, temptations abound.

By Dulce Zamora
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Introduction

It happens every year about this time. The air gets nippier, the days get shorter -- and your jeans start getting tighter.

Ready or not, feasting season is here -- that seemingly endless time of temptation that starts with Halloween candy and continues with Thanksgiving stuffing and pies, merry-making treats, then New Year's toasts. Even beyond Jan. 1, there are Super Bowl chips and dips and Valentine's Day chocolates to contend with.

"We have four months of constant feasting," says Roger A. Clemens, DrPH, food science expert for the Institute of Food Technologists. "If we do feast, as many people do, without control, then we set ourselves up for bad patterns, ill health, and weight gain."

Statistics for how much weight Americans tend to gain during the end-of-the-year festivities vary from 1 pound to 10, but it's undoubtedly a tough time for anyone trying to eat healthfully.

And then there's exercise. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, most Americans -- 59% in 2003 -- do not engage in vigorous, leisure-time physical activity. Add in the time demands of the holidays and the urge to stay inside because of the weather, and you have a recipe for even more inactivity.

With all this working against us, just how can we keep from overeating and underexercising during the Halloween-through-Valentine's Day season? WebMD asked some health and fitness experts for advice.