Is it myth or truth that people tend to gain weight during the holidays? Actually, according to a commonly cited study, adults tend to gain only 1-2 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. (If you are above average weight to start with, you might gain as much as 5 pounds).
That’s the good news. Now for the bad news.
First, most people who gain weight during the holidays don’t take it off in the new year. So, big deal, right? What’s 1 or 2 extra pounds? It’s not a big deal until you add up the pounds from last year, this year, next year, etc. You get the picture.
Secondly, the pound or two you gain isn’t as important as the proportion of fat in your body. Another study showed that even if you don’t gain weight during the holidays, you are very likely to see a significant increase in the proportion of fat in your body largely because of the food you eat.
Roll it all together, add up the years, and you are at higher and higher risk for serious health issues such as cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. Don’t kid yourself, this is just as important to younger healthy adults as it is to middle-age or older adults.
With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. Here are a few quick tips:
- Eat a healthy meal before you go to holiday get-togethers will help limit your consumption of unhealthy party foods.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol, which adds calories and affects your ability to make decisions about healthy eating.
- Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for candy.
- Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting foods.
- Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.
So let’s enjoy the holidays but let’s not mess around. Enjoy your treats but balance them with healthy meals the rest of the time. And move - burn that fat off (more on holiday exercising next week)!