Get Help Maintaining Weight, Health Over Holidays

'Maintain Don't Gain' program begins Nov. 12

Maintain Don't Gain starts Nov. 12.
Maintain Don't Gain starts Nov. 12.

As the holiday season kicks off this month, you may see a change in your diet and exercise habits, but Maintain Don't Gain, a free self-directed program, can help you lose or keep weight off during the holidays.

Organized by LIVE FOR LIFE, Duke's employee wellness program, Maintain Don't Gain sends participants weekly emails with healthy recipes, encouraging messages and tips and strategies for exercise, stress management and adopting or maintaining healthy behaviors. This year's program runs Nov. 12 to Jan. 4.

"We know it can be hard to stick to schedules and wellness plans during the holiday season when we have parties and holiday gatherings taking up our time," said Liz Grabosky, fitness program manager for LIVE FOR LIFE. "Our Maintain Don't Gain program is one easy way to offer tips and tricks to make sure faculty and staff can keep track of goals during a season when it's easy to indulge."

Employees can sign up now for Maintain Don't Gain to automatically start receiving health-related emails. Participants weigh themselves each week during the program and report progress online by 5 p.m. every Monday. As a new feature this year, participating employees will have an online record of weekly weigh-ins to track progress.

Participants can also receive up to 110 LIVE FOR LIFE dollars, fake money to spend on items like workout clothing and iPods at the LIVE FOR LIFE store. Employees in Maintain Don't Gain receive 50 LIVE FOR LIFE dollars by registering and completing the first four weeks of the program, another 50 by completing the last four weeks of the program and 10 LIVE FOR LIFE dollars by maintaining weight during the eight-week program.

According to the New England Journal of Medicine, the average person puts on one to five pounds over November and December.

"Most of us gain weight during the holidays, then try and get back on track at the beginning of the year," said Kamice Somerville, a certified medical assistant with Duke Primary Care who will participate in Maintain Don't Gain for the third time this year. "With this program you can enjoy the holidays. It is fun, it's easy, it's free and you don't have anything to lose."

Above all else, Somerville said, Maintain Don't Gain helps her stay focused on her wellbeing during the holiday season when the Duke Run/Walk Club takes a break over the winter. "It offers me motivation and makes me accountable about my actions concerning my health," she said.