Monday Medical: Hold your weight during the holidays |

Monday Medical: Hold your weight during the holidays

Riley Polumbus

— Some of us here at Yampa Valley Medical Center are teaming up to help keep one another from overeating this holiday season. We have stepped up on a scale to weigh ourselves for the Holiday Hold-Off Challenge.

More than 30 teams of four weighed in as one (my team weighs 586 pounds), and come January, each team will weigh in again. We must stay within five pounds of our combined weight.

I can tell you that this already is making me a little bit more conscious of my eating choices. As I pondered eating a doughnut at a recent meeting, I thought of my teammates. I decided to go for half.

Throughout the holidays, we will be provided with tips and handouts to guide us through this chow-challenging holiday season. Once we weighed in, we were given our first four tips: 1. Keep ordinary days ordinary. 2. Choose "someday foods" over "everyday foods." 3. Supply healthy alternatives. 4. Focus on everything but the food.

Keep ordinary days ordinary: Everyone shifts into high gear this time of year. We are packing more into our days. Therefore, it is even more important to hold to our usual healthy eating habits.

Avoid skipping meals: Although we are busier, it is important to eat right. Also, do not skip meals before holiday parties — going hungry will make you overeat.

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Limit portions, especially when eating out: Portions are larger at restaurants. Plan to take half home in a to-go box. This will save calories and time by providing two appropriately sized meals.

Load up on the good stuff: Fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide low-fat, high-fiber choices to hold off weight gain and keep your digestive system functioning.

Choose someday foods over everyday foods: I can picture it now — dishes filled with foods jam-packed upon a table like the gondola line between Christmas and New Year's. With so much available, I need a strategy to make sure I do not let my teammates down.

My plan is to "spend" my calories on the special treats rather than the food I could eat any time of year.

After all, these traditions are part of the holidays and are to be enjoyed!

Supply the healthy alternatives: Since we often contribute one of those tempting dishes, why not provide something that is special and healthy?

Traditional recipes can be made healthier with a few substitutions: skim milk for whole, double egg amounts using egg whites only and skinless turkey.

Is your workplace overstocked with chocolate and cookies? Beat your co-workers to the punch with treats such as low-calorie microwave popcorn, yogurt and fruit.

Focus on everything except the food: So many parties are all about the food and drink. But here in our recreational winter wonderland, we can focus a holiday party around an activity rather than around the table.

Go sledding, snowshoeing or ice skating before heading inside for the feast. Who said yoga and wine don't mix? Eat, drink and be active!

You, too, can rally a team of friends, family, housemates or co-workers and join in on this Healthy Holiday Hold-Off. Team support and friendly competition may be just the right recipe to hold your weight for the holidays.

Riley Polumbus is communications specialist at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at

The Best Light Pumpkin Pie

Saves 151 calories and 12 grams of fat per slice!

■ 1 cup ginger snaps

■ 16 ounces canned pumpkin

■ 1/2 cup egg whites (about 4)

■ 1/2 cup sugar

■ 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, ginger, cloves)

■ 12-ounce can of evaporated skim milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grind cookies in a food processor. Lightly spray a 9” glass pie pan with vegetable cooking spray. Pat the cookie crumbs into the pan evenly. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Pour into the crust and bake until a knife inserted into center comes out clean (about 45 minutes). Store in refrigerator. Allow to cool and slice into 8 pieces. Each slice: 165 calories, 1.5 g fat, .5 g saturated fat, 170 mg sodium, 32 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 6 g protein.

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