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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Campus Health: Scale back on treats

Many students going home for Thanksgiving are looking forward to stuffing themselves with holiday dishes and treats.

One day of excessive eating has little effect on overall health, according to Hana Feeney, nutrition counselor for Campus Health Service. Consistently indulging throughout the holiday season, however, can lead to unwanted pounds.

“”If you’re overeating and stuffing yourself the whole week you’re home?”” Feeney asked. “”That’s maybe not so good.””

Most adults gain about one or two pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to a 2000 National Institutes of Health study. Though this number may be less than many people expect, Feeney said the extra pounds accumulate throughout the years.

“”That two to five pound gain doesn’t automatically come off on the first of January,”” she said.

Feeney said many college students gain a few pounds each year and up to 10 pounds by the time they graduate.

“”A lot of that gain, particularly in college students, comes between the Thanksgiving and Halloween time to coming home from winter break,”” Feeney said.

Feeney said people are conditioned to overeat during the holidays, especially on Thanksgiving.

“”Somewhere along the way, that became the cultural experience,”” Feeney said. “”It’s the mindset of ‘We only get these foods once a year and this is how we celebrate.'””

Holiday meals include more options than a usual dinner, so it may be tempting to try a serving of everything on the table.

“”Without even realizing it, without even purposely eating until you get stuffed, it can happen,”” Feeney said.

Spending the holidays at home may provide students with a seemingly limitless supply of homemade food.

“”I don’t think I’ve ever had home-cooked food (this year),”” said public administration and policy freshman Kelsey Sease. “”Maybe once.””

Sease said she is looking forward to eating a lot over Thanksgiving weekend.

“”Stuffing for sure,”” she said. “”I can’t wait.””

Other students are used to cooking for themselves at school. Elizabeth Dake, a senior majoring in history and religious studies, is going home to Minnesota for the holiday weekend.

“”I do all the cooking on Thanksgiving,”” Dake said. “”I don’t eat as much as some people do. It’s a little less satisfying than having someone do the cooking for you.””

Feeney said most people can eat what they want on Thanksgiving without a problem.

“”But I think it is also a good challenge to think ‘What if I didn’t stuff myself?'”” she said.

The most important part of moderating holiday eating is to be mindful, Feeney said. The sentimental value attached to “”mom’s cookies”” or “”grandma’s stuffing”” contributes to overeating.

“”You have all these reasons to eat that are not hunger-related,”” Feeney said. “”And that’s detrimental, no matter what time of year.””

Feeney said to keep the acronym “”HALT”” in mind during holiday eating, meaning people should avoid becoming too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired to prevent overeating. She recommends planning to enjoy holiday treats at specific times and saving second helpings as leftovers.

“”I firmly believe it tastes better when you’re not stuffed.””


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