Updated: Nov 2
Holiday weight gain is a common concern that many of us face every year. The combination of social gatherings and indulgent treats often leads to a small, seemingly insignificant increase in weight. However, this slight gain can accumulate over the years, resulting in significant weight gain and potential health issues.
This worldwide phenomenon has been studied for years.
Research, including studies conducted by Harvard Medical, has shown that people's weights tend to be 0.5% higher after the holiday season, with additional increases from other celebrations like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Year's. While this percentage might seem trivial, it translates into real weight: for instance, a 1% weight gain for a person weighing 175 lbs. before the holidays means an extra 1.75 lbs. of weight. Over time, this can add up to substantial weight gain, contributing to health problems and a decreased quality of life.
The problem is the unnoticed weight eventually leads to large gains.
People often don't realize they're gaining weight, especially because the increase appears to be minimal each year. However, consider this: If you gain just 1% of your body weight every year, in a decade, you'll find yourself over 17 lbs. heavier than you were before. And in two decades, that seemingly minor annual increase adds up to a staggering 35 lbs. of extra weight! This gradual accumulation can lead to obesity, metabolic diseases, health issues, and even premature death.
So, what can you do to avoid falling into this cycle?
Here are some practical tips that I have used myself to keep my weight under control, and stay healthy during the holiday season:
Mindful Eating: Be conscious of what you eat at gatherings. Eat fruits and vegetables before indulging in high-calorie treats. Choose lean meats and fish over processed carbs and desserts. This approach will fill you up with nutritious foods, making it harder to overindulge in unhealthy options.
Regular Exercise: Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Even a 20-minute walk each day can boost your metabolism, helping you burn calories more efficiently.
Hydration: Drink plenty of water before and after meals. Sometimes, feelings of hunger can be confused with dehydration. Staying well-hydrated can curb unnecessary snacking and support your overall well-being.
Bring Your Own Healthy Options: When attending parties, bring your own nutritious snacks or dishes. You might be surprised at how others appreciate and choose your healthier alternatives, making it easier for everyone to make better food choices.
If you find yourself struggling with weight gain and want personalized guidance to navigate the holiday season healthily, I'm here to help. My 30+ years of experience helping people uniquely positions me to assist you in creating a sustainable plan tailored to your needs.
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Author, "The Short Fight"