Now that Thanksgiving is over, it seems like everyone is pulling out their holiday lights, Christmas stockings, yard decorations – and scales! Nowadays, concern over holiday weight gain is as much a part of our holiday culture as is Rudolph and mistletoe, candy canes and menorahs.
While it’s easy to think that December weight gain is an inevitable annual event, excessive holiday weight gain is actually a myth. In reality, the amount of weight that people gain over the holidays is quite minimal, even insignificant.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is less than one pound, although most people believe they gain more.
If you have fallen into the trap of worrying about holiday weight gain, you may be doing yourself more harm than good. Adopting a rigid, “dieting” approach to food over the holidays can backfire, and cause you to eat more.
Giving yourself permission to enjoy a reasonable amount of holiday fare actually helps maintain healthier eating habits over the holidays, as opposed to stressing and obsessing over food.
For instance, allowing yourself to enjoy a moderate amount of your favorite holiday dessert, will satisfy your sweet tooth and off-set after-party mint chocolate chip freezer raids. Similarly, giving yourself permission to taste normal portions of tantalizing dishes, as opposed to relegating yourself to the veggie platter, will help you feel fulfilled and make it easier to walk away from the holiday buffet table when you are reasonably full.
Still worried about holiday weight gain? Here are a few more holiday eating tips to consider:
Absolutely resist the temptation to cut back on eating prior to a holiday event. Arriving ravenously hungry to a party overflowing with food is a surefire set up for overeating.
Be mindful of alcohol consumption. Alcohol loosens inhibitions and can lead to mindless overeating.
Lastly, take advantage of the cooler holiday weather and get out and move. Regular physical activity makes sedentary overeating less appealing and, unless you are Santa preparing for that special night, makes for a happier holiday experience.