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Holidays Weigh 'Heavy' On Women's Waistlines

CARLSBAD, Calif. and NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The holidays can be a hectic time, and for many women, the stress takes a toll on their waistlines, says a new survey from FITNESS Magazine and Jenny Craig.  According to results, even though the majority of women have been on at least one diet during the past two years, nearly half (47 percent) admit to gaining an average of four to five pounds during the holiday/winter months.

"The holidays can be a difficult time as there are so many delicious options at parties and dinners," said Barbara Rolls, Professor of Nutritional Sciences and the Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutrition at The Pennsylvania State University and founder of the Volumetrics® Approach to eating, exclusively featured in the Jenny Craig program.  "Moderation is key. You can enjoy your favorite holiday treats, but do so in smaller portions and be sure to fill up on lots of lower-density foods such a big salad. Just hold the creamy dressing."

According to the survey data, rich comfort food and an increase in social gatherings were the primary culprits for weight gain. Nearly two-thirds of women (61 percent) noted that they could not resist the allure of tasty treats often available during the holiday season. Increased stress, limited selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, and decreased activity (due to a slump in motivation) also factored into cold-weather weight gain. Sixty-six percent cited that they are less motivated to be physically active during the winter months.

FITNESS Magazine and Jenny Craig have teamed up to offer some tips so consumers can still indulge while avoiding the bulge:
  • Fill your plate with healthy fruits and veggies Losing and maintaining a healthy weight is all about moderation, not deprivation. Barbara Rolls' Volumetrics® Approach, which is exclusive to the Jenny Craig program, includes suggestions such as eating an apple or drinking a hot cup of chicken broth before heading to a social gathering. You will be less hungry and more prone to choose healthier options such as shrimp cocktail, crudite and fruit skewers, which you can eat in abundance.
  • Eat one treat — Choose one "splurge" on the entire buffet table to eat and then choose healthier options for the remainder of your plate. This way, you still feel like you can participate in the festivities, without the consequences later. A splurge, for example, would be a small slice of cheesecake, a chocolate truffle or a glass of wine or champagne.
  • Have a game plan in advance — Having a game plan before you go to a dinner or holiday party can make all the difference. Jenny Craig offers consultants who can help plan out your meals or adjust your activity levels, so that you can enjoy your celebrations and avoid having to think on your feet about what you're going to eat.
  • Sneak in a workout without even feeling it – During the holidays, it can be easy to lose motivation to stay active, especially during the winter months. Since physical activity is so important to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, stay inspired by trying a new class, taking a walk at lunch with friends or even doing some laps around the office to burn a few extra calories around the holidays. This is of course, in addition to regular, moderate exercise two to three times per week.
  • Yes, you can drink alcohol and lose weight – Most traditional cocktails average more than 250 calories, so look for lower-calorie options. A wine spritzer is approximately 60 calories. Or, opt for celebratory champagne; an average flute is about 80-100 calories. Also, remember to hydrate yourself – you can still feel festive by enjoying a sparkling water with cranberry.
  • Be the friend you want to have! – Before you head over to a holiday party, call the host to see if they want you to bring over a healthy option, such as a hummus and veggie platter. That way, you know you will be able to fill your plate with something tasty without loading up on the calories and will help your friends do the same. "We hope that these survey results empower consumers to take a proactive approach when it comes to managing their weight during the holidays," said Dana Fiser, CEO of Jenny Craig. "Jenny's one-on-one consultations provide clients with successful strategies to create a healthy relationship with food, while encouraging moderate activity and a balanced approach to living, which can help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, Jenny clients lose three times more weight than dieting on their own."* 

For healthy holiday recipes, free walking plans and more information about Jenny Craig, please visit

Follow Jenny Craig on Twitter: Follow Jenny Craig on Facebook:

For additional workouts and fitness advice, please visit:

Follow FITNESS on Twitter:!/FitnessMagazine  Follow FITNESS on Facebook:!/fitnessmag

*Rock CL, Flatt SW, Karanja N, et al. JAMA. 2010;304 (16): 1803-1811. Clients following our program, on average, lose 1-2 lbs. per week.

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