Avoiding that Unwanted Weight Gain during the Holidays

You may have heard it said that most people gain 5 pounds during the holidays. Fortunately, that number is an over blown myth. Holiday weight gain, however, is all too real. On average, most of us will put on 1-2 pounds from November to January. That may not seem like a lot now, but one pound of extra padding is the equivalent of loading four sticks of butter onto your frame.

Still, you may think, one pound isn’t really a big deal. And I’ll just burn it off with my New Year’s “Lose Weight” Resolution. The trouble is, losing weight is incredibly challenging. Losing even a single pound can be an enormous struggle. If it were easy, we wouldn’t have a population that is 70% overweight or obese.

Physiologically, the body does not want to let fat go, and once it’s on, your body will fight to keep it there. Back when humans had to fight for survival, fat was what would keep them alive when there was nothing else to eat. In 2018, however, lack of food is rarely (if ever) a problem. The very safeguard that kept humans alive thousands of years ago is now slowly killing us.

The result? Weight loss goals have a depressingly dismal success rate. One study showed that only 25% are successful at long-term weight loss, and that is an optimistic number. For the rest, that one pound sticks. With each subsequent year offering an additional pound of its own, most adults are putting on 10 – 20 pounds per decade. That kind of weight gain is nothing to turn your nose up at.

Adult weight gain is a risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Cancer, and many more health issues. The best solution to avoiding this vicious holiday cycle is to simply prevent gaining that extra pound in the first place. Below are a few suggestions to get your wheels turning and help you find ways to prevent the holiday weight gain that may be already haunting you from last year…

1. Join a holiday fitness challenge! There are a lot of companies that offer holiday challenges to help you stay motivated during this busy season. You could try Weight Watchers, or any company challenge such as a Project 0 or Maintain Don’t Gain challenge. If you don’t know of one going on in your community, find a buddy to keep you accountable and create your own!

2. Get your family involved! The more people you’re around that are also working hard to not gain weight, the easier your quest will be. Ask family members, friends, or even neighbors to join you and together you can come up with better ways to spend your time during the cold months that will still help you stay fit and healthy.

3. Join in some snow sports! Whether it’s snow skiing or boarding, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing or even hiking in the snow, all of these can be quite enjoyable and productive as far as your health is concerned.

4. Don’t forget the yard work! Winter brings it’s own set of challenges when it comes to yard work. Find excuses to go out and shovel your driveway or your neighbors, burning some extra calories while getting in the Christmas spirit. You can burn anywhere from 400-600 calories per hour when shoveling snow!

5. Watch your nutrition! Surround yourself with a lot of healthy food options by prepping food, and keeping food handy that is healthy. Try adding in veggies to some of your favorite holiday foods or try some new recipes that are a little healthier. Another idea is to make healthy food to take with you when you attend holiday parties so you have a good option to eat and don’t end up losing at the desert table.

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