How to Neutralize Holiday Weight Gain [+How to Prevent it]

  • Usman 

Obesity is a pandemic too. About 70 percent of Americans are either obese or overweight. And we are well aware that being overweight is a significant risk indicator for heart disease and diabetes.?And this Covid pandemic has not helped at all with weight loss efforts.

According to a Survey by American Psychological Association, 61 percent people experienced undesirable weight change resulting from Covid.?But is it a fact that we gain weight during holidays? If yes, then how much is average weight gain resulting from holidays season? And more importantly, what can you do to prevent this undesired weight gain when you are in celebratory spirits of Christmas and new year holidays?? ?

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Is It Normal to Gain Weight During Holidays?

With green and red glittering lights in your yard, the smell of cinnamon rolls from your kitchen, a tray of the warm gingerbread man, and your friends and family around, one is sure to get into the holiday spirit. The cheerful ambiance and festivities might have us eating and celebrating over these days.

Especially the delicious food which surrounds us during this time, it is bound to catch the human eye. After all, it is a part of the human psyche to want a bite of that nice smelling slice of pizza, or a swig of that chilled grape soda on the kitchen counter. It is a survival instinct, to eat, even when you?re not hungry.    However, it might also make us slip away from our daily diet and meal schedule.

How Much Weight Does an Average American Gain?

This temporary slip-up might evolve into something monstrous for many if not kept in check, which is the very reason why most Americans are left feeling bulkier after the holidays. New England Journal of Medicine revealed a study stating that an average American is apt to gain 0.4% of their weight during the Holiday season. This is estimated to be average weight gain of 0.48 kg.

The joy and fervor follow ten days after Christmas as well and this cheer tends to throw many folks’ diets off balance. With the jovial spirit hovering above our heads, the amount of exercise an individual would execute daily is cut back dramatically. Yes, this lack of movement is concluded with an unwanted pound in our bodies.

This weight gain can be daunting for many. Nonetheless, if you embrace your diet plans wholeheartedly over the holidays, a little cake and cookie is not a problem. Only as long as you keep your goals in mind. Yet you must remember, it is normal if our diet plans are shattered and our health goals become hazy with the holiday rush and stress.

Holiday Stress and Weight Gain

 Of course, then there is the holiday stress, which maneuvers us mentally in such a way that we entirely ignore our health goals. The whirlwind of festivities, shopping blitzes, invasion of loud crowds in houses, and too much optimism around can weigh us down eventually. In other words, it can simply overwhelm us.

The holiday season is filled with miscellaneous activities to do, numerous people to meet, and laughs tossed here and there, which can culminate into unrest and leave us frazzled at times. Henceforth, to adapt to this tumult, we tend to overindulge in spending, alcohol, and most grandly, eating. Many people embark on the journey to eat their way out of these seasonal blues, ending up with a full plate.

Thus, this Holiday stress and high-calorie dinners make it difficult to lodge with your diet plan and you might stray from it during this time. Yet, one should understand that it is normal to go through this munching phase.

How to Manage the Overabundance of Food During Holidays?

It is difficult, not impossible, to eat and keep your waistline in check. Holiday weight gain is not inevitable. Although the seasonal holidays may stimulate sedentary behavior and encourage the intake of calorie-rich foods, we can always satisfy our cravings with a few bites.

For instance, you are served a slice of your favorite apple pie. Your longing to have a large slice to fill up your stomach might be persistent, but don’t give in just yet. Take a small slice, worth a few bites. Eggnogs and pies tend to set you back by 400 calories, or more. Thus, it is best to have a taste and stop right there.

Remember, don’t starve yourself. Don’t deprive your taste buds of having a taste of your favorite pudding or pie, as starving yourself might only trigger your hunger even more.

Eat slowly and savor every bite you take, the aroma and texture of the food should be enjoyed, it will also aid you in eating less. This is due to human phycology. When we eat unhurriedly, our brain is allowed enough time to signal that our stomach is filled. This will help ensure that we don’t cram our bellies.

We tend to sit around and watch our favorite shows with friends and family during Holidays. This special time of bonding with our loved ones can be turned around into a healthy physical activity as well. A family walk is sure to distract you from the deliciousness brewing in your home kitchen, and also to get your legs moving to burn some calories, if not many.

 Furthermore, when we exercise, our brain releases endorphins and dopamine, which are known to be happy hormones as they elevate our mood and save us from anxiety and blues.

Get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation increases our hunger hormone levels, which leads to unwanted calories and a lack of motivation to exercise. Scarcity of sleep is also recognized to be a cause of a sluggish metabolism, which inevitably adds to your weight increase.

Reduce your holiday stress, breathe a little. Some effective ways to do so are yoga and meditation. Practice them daily. You can go for a daily morning walk, listen to relaxing music or spend extra time with your pet if you own any.

Another reason for this weight gain is our cooking habits. Most people tend to taste test their dishes when they cook, unsurprisingly, we cook a lot during the holidays. We taste our dishes to ensure their flavor; however, a tiny bite is enough.

Weigh yourself regularly. Seeing the small metal square daily will remind you of your weight missions. It’ll make sure you don’t change course and stay encouraged. Avoid junk food during this period.

 Stay away from processed foods and indulge yourself in less saturated, less sweet, and fatty dishes. Burgers, extra-creamy cakes, and deep-fried foods are quite saturated with calories. Opt for whole meals, and homemade foods.

Increase your protein intake during the holidays. Protein-enriched foods are recognized to leave our stomachs feeling full for a longer period. Due to this reason, one should keep a sharp eye for protein sources displayed on the table, such as poultry, lean meat, red beans, and seafood.

Plan your meals. When our meals are planned, we incline towards lesser food intake as we are mentally prepared only for the meals that we had decided upon earlier. The more you’ll be served, the more food you’ll take in.

Don’t stay seated at the table for too long. Those glazed doughnuts, stacks of waffles, aromatic cholate sauce decorating the desserts, floral patterns of dried nuts on a pie, the scent of lattes, and the urge for a second serving will surely pull you many steps down the ladder of fitness, if not all the way down.

Another tip to suppress weight gain is to have a whole breakfast. Your breakfast is the beginning of your day, therefore, kick start your day with a whole meal. Make sure your plate has all the important nutrients and healthy food, so you don?t go munching about at noon.

Is Holiday Weight Gain Temporary? How to Lose It?

There is a common thought that floats through everyone?s minds. Is this weight gain temporary? The Answer to this question can be yes, and no. The thought of gaining some weight and then the need to lose it can be exhausting. Hence, many people tend to ignore this weight gain, hoping it?ll go away itself.

This only ends them up with yet another pound next year, and then the year after as well. If this incline in weight gain is not kept in check, then this cycle of weight gain keeps circulating year after year until there are quite a lot of kilograms added to your body.

Furthermore, this gain can de-motivate several people. They start believing they have reached a point of no return as if no exercise or diet plan can pull them out of this black hole of discouragement. But that?s not true.

Once you have gained your first pound after a good ten days of holiday munching, stick to your diet plan once again. We all go through a little diet slip-up, but it can always be fixed. You must carry on with your exercises and your diet. It is a gradual but an effective process.

Work out a little more than before; increase your body?s movement. This will only help you burn those extra calories. A cherry on top of your diet sundae. There is nothing that burns your calories like a workout that leaves you panting and gasping for breath.

Start eating healthy again. Stack your fridge with greens and lean meat once more, go grocery shopping for some good quality protein foods. Lots of chicken, egg, beans, and fish must be on your checklist. You should plan your meals and stick to them, Make a diet schedule and rotate your menu every day to keep it interesting and motivational.

You must keep your goals in mind; they must be crystal clear to you. Why did you opt for a healthy lifestyle? Why did you want to lose that extra pound from the Holiday season? Whatever your reason may be, embrace it with all your heart. This will encourage you mentally to keep up with your diet, even when it seems a little difficult at times.

You must reach your body goals; after all, they are your body goals.  

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Muhammad Usman

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