Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday

Have a Happy and Healthy Holiday

Author: Marianne Kotcher

September is when you weigh the least. Can you guess what time of year you weigh the most?

If you find yourself saying some version of perhaps the most common holiday refrain: “I’m really going to get back on track after the new year,” you might want to do some preventative recon, so you come out the other side of the holidays with less of a “mess” to clean up. The media loves to shout out warnings that the average American gains between five to 10 pounds over the holidays, but more recent research indicates that it’s closer to one to two pounds.

However, even a small increase in your waistline is a concern because most of us don’t ever seem to take that weight back off. Plus, if you entered this season of overindulgence carrying some extra baggage you may gain even more weight. According to a study from Tufts University, overweight adults gain five pounds or more during the holidays. That said, weight gain is only one of the issues you need to talk to your gut about.

Consider that just one large, abundantly sugared and fatted meal, usually causes immediate discomfort in the form of painful indigestion, bloating, and gas. [Add panda’s bit about taking anti-acids] And these feasts can raise your risk of heart attack, blood clots, and gallbladder problems.

So, what should you do?

Don’t diet. Significant attempts at weight loss seem to backfire over the holidays, according to a recent review in the Journal of Obesity. The authors’ data show that you’ll still gain despite trying to cut calories and self-monitor. A better holiday strategy may be to maintain weight, maximize foods that won’t cause harm, and minimize the occasional rich dish, sweet, or alcoholic drink. It sounds simple but taking the focus off trying to shed pounds and putting it on how you want to feel is a lot more manageable—and you’re likely to have better results than you’d get from the strict and unrealistic regimens.

However, when the next engagement reminder comes your way, take a little time to dwell on how your last overindulgence left you feeling. Play the occasion all the way through. If you are getting ready to head out to yet another event, pause and take reflect on how you felt the last time you overdid it. Were you popping antacids like candy canes? Did you end up staying close to the bathroom all day? This doesn’t need to be a beat-yourself-up sort of session. Instead, use history as a gentle reminder that you don’t have to have a repeat scenario. You can take another path to a happier and healthier holiday.


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