The holidays have come and gone but one thing that didn’t go out with the old year was the weight gained over the holidays. Before you get too down on yourself, let’s look at some actual facts regarding weight gain and the holiday season. The estimate of how much the average person gains over the holidays varies. The general estimate of 5-10 pounds is somewhat exaggerated. When the new year rolls around, and we give ourselves a self-exam, we are generally more hard on ourselves than the truth would apply. Modern-day research has the average weight gain between 2-4 pounds over the holiday season. This type of gain could happen at any time of the year… vacations, high-stress events, etc. but we all have a tendency to know exactly where we stand when the new year begins.
So now that the damage has been done, how do we start getting back on track? It might help to really understand why the holidays create such a flurry of overeating. Social functions and parties are common occurrences over the holidays. Whether it’s church, work, friends or family gatherings, food and alcohol consumption is a high priority at most events. It is only natural for the cook to want their plate to be the first to be emptied. This means preparing our most liked dishes as opposed to our healthiest dishes. This is also true for our workplace where daily treats and snacks seem to suddenly appear during the holidays. The rush of the season also plays its role because less time means more stops at fast food restaurants for meals that are generally not a part of our normal routine.
So now that we’ve done it again, what can we do to get back on the right track? There are several things to remember before we start setting resolutions and goals that are not attainable. First off, any weight put on was not done in a week or probably not even a month’s time. A gradual increase in calories might go back as far as the leftover candy from Halloween. This type of snacking might not result in much of a weight gain, but it can be the beginning of an attitude that the holidays are here and I’m not going to be as concerned about my diet as I am the rest of the year. Expect the weight you gained to take about the same amount of time to get rid of as it did to put on. Secondly, try and make goals and resolutions that are lifestyle changes as opposed to just a set number of pounds you want to lose. This might be starting an exercise program, eating healthier, or even getting more sleep.
The bottom line is that most of us are going to make resolutions to improve aspects of our lives we feel we need to improve. If we can realize small changes that last are much better in the long run than drastic changes that are temporary, we are on the way to a healthier, happier new year. Make this your best one!