If you are like me, you love the holiday season – time with family and friends, holiday shopping and eating. The holiday season provides an abundance of opportunities for overindulgence.  

Research suggests the average American gains about one pound during the winter holiday season. This is much less than the five to eight pounds commonly believed. Unfortunately, researchers at the National Institutes of Health report most people never lose that extra pound of weight, so it accumulates year after year. Later in life, the extra weight may be a major contributor to obesity and the diseases associated with it.  

Join me and UT Extension as we embark on a healthy holiday journey, the Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge.

The challenge lasts seven weeks. It begins the Sunday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 24) and runs through the Jan.10. The challenge offers tips about how you can prevent weight gain and stay fit during the busy holiday season. Each week during the seven-week challenge, you will receive one email message that will help you to survive and thrive in spite of all the temptations to overeat and be inactive.  At the end of the seven-weeks, you will be asked to complete a short survey. You don’t reveal your weight, just whether you maintained – gained or lost. This is a free program.

The holiday season is a minefield of overeating opportunities. Add the hectic festivities to your calendar, and exercise takes a backseat. Don’t let this combination allow you to gain weight. This challenge is for anyone wanting encouragement and accountability through the season….but still enjoy the food and fellowship.

Participants also get free opportunities at local fitness facilities during the challenge just for signing up. The free opportunities end Jan. 10. 

Registered participants receive online accountability and encouragement through weekly emails and a Facebook support group, so the free fitness opportunities at local fitness facilities is an added bonus!

Register for the Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge now through Nov. 18 at http://tiny.utk.edu/MDGChallenge

The Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge is part of the Healthier Robertson County initiative.  

For more information on Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge or to partner as a participating fitness facility, contact Patterson at lpatte20@utk.edu or 615 384-7936. 

Lauren Patterson is a family and consumer sciences extension agent for UT Extension in Robertson County. 

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