Holiday Weight Gain: Myth or Reality?

By Doug Nelson
Community Center Manager

Scale photographI’ve done my own personal and professional research on the topic of holiday weight gain, and I have bad and good news. Studies indicate that holiday weight gain is real, but how much weight we lose on average is greatly exaggerated. I’ve heard stories about seven pounds of weight gain, but luckily it is closer to one and a half. Statistics aside, the better story is, “Why do we gain weight during the holidays, and how do we lose it after?”

It appears that holiday weight gain begins sometime in October, when bad weather forces us to cut down on our outdoor activities – followed by Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasting, and Christmas cookies…. and we don’t gain weight on the actually holiday date, it’s more of an accumulation of decisions made during the entire season. In my opinion, it’s okay to treat yourself to a few holiday delights. Go ahead and indulge on a few of your favorites, but don’t let the holiday snacking expand to the week before and the week after!

If you want my opinion, your best bet for holiday success is the proactive approach. Instead of a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, how about a This Year’s resolution not to gain any weight? It is much easier to add a few extra workouts now rather than struggling for 5 months after the holidays. When it comes to holiday events; have a personalized meal plan, drink extra water – before, during, and after, and limit your alcohol intake. Holiday stress is also very real, and can oftentimes lead to over-eating. Find stress relieving activities to help you stay positive and upbeat; meditation, yoga, exercise, and other relaxation techniques. Lastly, be sure to get a good night’s sleep. When we are tired and groggy, we are more likely to make poor nutrition choices.

Happy Holidays to all! Remember, you have a choice. Make your holidays healthy and happy!