THE HOLIDAY GIFT YOU DON’T WANT We all know about the holiday weight gain syndrome; they say “10 to 15lbs from Thanksgiving to New Year’s”. I wanted to find out if that was really true, so I did some fact checking. In my research I came across some pretty alarming “statistics” about the average American’s holiday-season weight gain. I found reports of everything from 3 to 20 lbs. Howe
ver what I did not see was any actual scientific data to back such numbers up. One should always check the resource! Holiday Weight Gain Facts: There are only a small handful of real studies that have actually gone to the trouble of methodically and scientifically measuring holiday weight gain trends in American, the findings suggestion us some good news and bad news. Good news first: it appears we tend to gain only about 1lb. of body weight during the holiday season on average. This figure comes from a highly respected and cited research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study followed 165 racially diverse people whose average age was 39 and whose average weights reflected those found in the general U.S. population, from the pre-holiday period through the post-holiday period. Now for the bad news: what we do gain during those magical 7 weeks is a gift that does not go away in January. This study and other respected studies suggest that this seemingly harmless holiday gain of just 1lb may add up over the course of years and contribute to the bigger (pun intended) problem: the upward creep”. In addition the studies show that those whom start the holiday already on the heavy side end up with more like a 5lb gain. There is more; when we look closer at the research we see a trend in body compositional change; meaning the results of holiday indulgences lead to higher fat mass and a decrease in lean body tissue, the consequences of which contribute lowering metabolism. So you see even though one may not gain very much weight from Turkey day to January 1, some other things change and can be a bit sneaky. The 1lb holiday weight gain syndrome is of real concern. We have all heard ourselves say and we have heard our friends say it. Every year we get fatter and fatter, but often we don’t feel like we can put our fingers right on the source. So I am going to make a suggestion (I am sure you knew that was coming). I am not going to suggest that you should not eat any goodies over the holidays or even over indulge once or twice. I try to practice what I preach and I personally enjoy the holidays and all the wonderful fares and treats. I would hate to miss that. Family and friends gathering around food and sprites is delightful. I want you to enjoy the holidays but I also want you to start 2013 feeling good. Decide now to enroll these guideline and we you do just fine.GOOD ADVICE FOR THE HOLIDAYS 1. Drink Lots of Water: water naturally helps you not eat much, sleep better, process food and being hydrated burns more fat. 2. Eat Slowly and Appreciate: take a deep breath and control your excitement when you see all those goodies. 3. Do Not Skip Meals: this messes with your metabolism and leads you to overeating at the next meal. 4. Protein and Simple Carbs: If you are going to “pig-out” reach for the proteins and the simple carbs. 5. Workout in the Morning: (or anytime you can), but if you work out in the morning you will perk up your metabolism for the whole day. I have an annual tradition of a harder than average workout on the big eating days of the holidays. I remember back when I worked at Gold’s gym in Portland, one of my most favorite workouts was the morning of Thanksgiving. I would walk into the gym and the energy was fantastic and every treadmill or elliptical was taken, you had to wait in line and everyone was just having a blast. So go for a long walk or hike or jog, get those engines revving. You can add weight training to build muscles; they increase your metabolism even more. 6. Friends: Hook up with some friends and make it a group effort. More the merrier! Lastly happy holidays!