Holiday Weight Gain

holiday-weight-gainWith just 62 days ’til Christmas, the Holiday Season is pretty much  on our doorstep. Each year as the holiday season rolls around, (did you notice that it rolls, it doesn’t walk or meander or even waltz…it rolls. That can’t be a good sign) it brings with it wassail, eggnog  and hot cocoa with marshmallows, turkey with stuffing and all the other trimmings, pies, custards, cookies, cakes and Grandma’s secret recipe homemade fudge.

With all the food that traditionally comes along with the holidays that are quickly approaching us, it has been rumored that the average American  gains between 5 and 15 pounds during the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas. That’s enough weight to scare just about anyone into becoming a hermit for  a month! Well, I have good news and I have bad news… Good news first!

Research shows that the rumored 5 to 15 pounds of weight gain for the average Joe is an exaggeration. In a study done with 195 participants at the National Institutes of Health, the participants were weighed four times in a six month window (September through March). On average, the majority of participants gained about a pound in the time between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. Less than 10 percent of the participants in the study gained five pounds or more in the same period of time. Okay, time for the bad news.

A pound doesn’t sound so bad does it?   Allow me to tell you a little more of the story. The problem with  that particular pound they gained is that when 165 of the original participants returned almost a year  after the study  to be weighed, that pound was still there. Yikes! So yes, it’s “only” a pound. But it’s a pound that isn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon. That means 25 years down the road, you could have an extra 25 pounds to go along with your fond memories, home videos  and digital pics  of holiday seasons gone by. Awwwww, how cute is that? It’s not.

After briefly reading through the study, I couldn’t quit thinking about it. Yes, it’s only a pound, but it’s a stubborn pound that doesn’t want to go anywhere. And don’t forget about  the  10% that gain 5 or more pounds. When you start looking at the population of the USA alone, that 10% is still a lot of people. Approximately 31,054,800 people will have to buy bigger jeans…that is no good.

So, how do you prevent that stubborn pound (and it’s friends) from even entering the picture? I have 10 tips to help you beat the holiday treats that tempt you and keep you and your jeans from having to part ways. Today’s post will contain 2 of the 10. The remaining 8 will be in future posts, so keep checking back to get all 10!

Tip #1: Get Moving Already!

My first tip is to get up and get moving your body! Start now, establish a routine that you are comfortable with, that you will be able to maintain throughout the holiday season. It might be walking around the track at the local gym, running on the treadmill, lifting weights, an exercise tape you do  at home, taking your kids swimming or another activity that you enjoy, just do it. Starting now allows you some time to make it a healthy habit before all the holiday food even becomes an issue.

Tip #2: Plan Gatherings Around Activities Instead of Food

Instead of planning for the family to come over for dinner and talking (all of which is done while sitting down), plan for everyone to go sledding, ice skating or have a snowball fight  instead. Another idea is to do a service project as a family. Have everyone get together and tell them to bring their snow shovels. Shovel the driveways of those who live on your street, or choose some of the elderly who live in your neighborhood and shovel their driveways instead. If you’ve ever shoveled snow, you know just how good a sweat you can work up! You’ll get your heart rate up, burn some calories and be the favorite person of all the  folks on your street! I know I’d pick you as my favorite if you shoveled my driveway!

There is no need to let this holiday season add anything to your life other than good memories of time spent with family and friends. Make sure to check back to get the other 8 tips for beating the holiday bulge this season. See ya soon!

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