Don't put the holidays before your health

Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Getting healthy for the holidays
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Don't take a holiday from your health, an expert tells ABC11.

DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- Many Americans consume as many as 6,000 calories on Thanksgiving Day. That's three times more than what's recommended daily.

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We often give ourselves permission to overeat during the holiday season and then hit the gym in January, but for some, the holidays are a good reason to lose weight.

Braggnetta Reid is taking a different approach to holiday health. A health scare last April led her to Millennium Sports Club in Durham.

"I hadn't been feeling really well for about a week or so. I was just feeling really bad. Everything seemed to hurt," Reid remembered.

She was at her heaviest. Her blood pressure and cholesterol both high. Her doctor recommended she lose weight immediately. Reid started meeting with a registered dietitian and working out with a personal trainer. She's lost 59 pounds so far and plans to lose 30 more by the spring, but she has to get through the holidays first.

Reid admitted it won't be easy. She plans to stay on track by eating what she wants in moderation and staying active.

A health scare motivated Braggnetta Reid to make changes.

"Get more steps in, which I'll probably be walking with my mom and my aunt over the holidays. They normally walk a lot," she said.

It's all about keeping the pounds off for people on a weight-loss journey, but for another group, looking good for the holidays is a goal within itself.

"Any kind of big event, whether it's a reunion," said registered dietitian Laurie Conteh, "... the holidays. The holidays, typically you see more family members and stuff, and everybody has some kind of little goal they want to work towards or they might be seeing somebody they haven't seen in a long time."

Conteh stressed that whatever your reason for getting fit is you should never take a vacation from your health.

Conteh recommended following your normal exercise routine and planning ahead for parties.

Don't skip meals or snacks and then overeat at events, she said. Fill up on fruits and vegetables, limit or even eliminate beverages with calories and eat slowly.

"Don't let a slip lead to a slide. Just because maybe you had a little bit extra Halloween candy, don't throw your hands up in the air and say this is it, after the new year, I'll start. That's just going to put you further behind," she said.

Reid is already 59 pounds ahead and not losing sight of her weight-loss goals. She said she believes good health is the best gift she can give herself this holiday season.