Why You Shouldn’t Gain Weight Over the Break and Resolve to Lose it in the New Year
In the US, there’s one annual tradition that we all embrace, often without meaning to and without realizing the toll it can take on our health. Starting around the end of October and going all the way into the new year, studies have shown something happens to our collective diets: we start making more and more excuses for unhealthy eating. The holiday season is, of course, a time to celebrate and relax with family and friends, but that doesn’t mean we have to overindulge. Before deciding it’s okay to have that second or third piece of pie, we want you to be aware of the risks of annual holiday weight gain and the effects it can have not only on the rest of your year, but the rest of your life as well.
At first glance, the facts tell us that holiday weight gain is actually not as bad as we tend to build it up to be in our minds. According to TIME Magazine, people believe that they gain around 5 pounds over the course of the holiday season. In reality, however, the average weight gain per individual between November and January is only 1 pound. Of course 1 pound doesn’t sound as bad as 5, but there’s a deceptive permanence to that extra pound we often don’t think about. The fact is that the weight gained over the course of the holiday season is usually never fully lost, meaning as the years go by, we gain more and more weight with each Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year. With this sustained weight gain also comes susceptibility to weight-related health issues, such as Type II Diabetes and heart disease. In other words, allowing ourselves to overeat, even for a few months out of the year, slowly leads to an overall decline in health.
The easiest way to prevent yourself from carrying around those extra holiday pounds for the rest of the year is to not gain them in the first place! According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, during the holidays those, “who engaged in more physical activity had less holiday weight gain, suggesting that increasing physical activity may be an effective method for preventing weight gain during this ‘high-risk’ time”. So, consider stepping up your workout routine while all of the merry-making is happening. You can also find healthier versions of any traditional holiday recipe on the glorious Internet. Check out our Healthy Holidays Pinterest board for ideas!
None of this is meant to say that you shouldn’t enjoy the holiday season. Go out and have fun, visit the ones you love, relax, get some needed sleep, and revel in the spirit of the season. But don’t let this time of year be an excuse to fall into unhealthy habits. You work too hard to maintain good health the rest of the year to let a few weeks of jollification ruin that work. As the season comes to a peak, just remember that your health shouldn’t take a back seat!