Holiday weight gain is a very real, very worrisome thing! With all the partying, feasting, and holiday hangouts, it’s so easy to get sucked into a vortex of overindulgence. No matter how careful you are, it’s nearly impossible to avoid eating and drinking more than you normally would. This can lead to a few extra, unwanted pounds that you’ve got to work off over the first few months of the year. Below is everything you need to know about holiday weight gain:
More Hype than Fact
When it comes down to it, the truth is that the amount of weight you gain over the average holiday isn’t as much as you might believe. In fact, there is a lot more hype around holiday weight gain than may be necessary. So many of us focus on those few over-loading meals (Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Dinner, and New Year’s Eve), but remember that you’ve got weeks and weeks where you can eat like normal. Just because it’s the holidays, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to gain weight. According to one study, you tend to gain just 1 to 2 pounds over the holidays—in the grand scheme of things, not all that bad!
It’s Hardest for the Overweight
As you can expect, it’s always most difficult to reverse weight gain when you’ve got a lot of weight gain to reverse. Those who are overweight and obese tend to gain the most weight during the holidays, and they’re the ones who struggle hardest to lose it come the New Year. It’s because people are already susceptible to weight gain that they tend to gain more weight. If you’re around a normal, healthy weight, you’ve got very little to worry about. For those of us with a bit more than is healthy, it’s important that we’re aware of just how prone we are to gaining weight around the holidays.
The Key to Keeping Off Holiday Weight
It all comes down to your food intake! If you think, “it’s the holidays, so I can go a bit overboard”, you’re all but guaranteed to gain weight. But if you stick with your strict, healthy eating plan, you’ll find it’s far easier to avoid weight gain. Yes, you want to enjoy yourself come Christmas dinner and have a few drinks at New Year’s, but you can still be moderate every other day of the holidays.
The amount you eat is often less important than the quality of the food you eat. Your goal should be to consume a lot of protein, grains, and veggies, with some fruits and fats, and very little in the way of carbs. The more protein and fiber you eat, the less sugar your body will absorb from the treats and snacks you do eat during the holidays. You’ll be far more likely to maintain a healthy weight if you focus on making all of your Christmas meals—even that massive Christmas dinner—a healthy one.
Track Your Food Intake
Just because it’s the holiday, that doesn’t mean you “deserve” to eat more treats and snacks than usual. Make it a point to be extra cautious with your food intake over the holiday season, and keep a detailed journal of everything you put into your body. You’ll find it’s much easier to avoid holiday weight gain if you’re monitoring what you eat. Your diligence will pay off in the long run—literally a few weeks from now, when you’re ready to hit the gym and lose all the weight. The more careful you are, the less you’ll have to lose!