Holiday weight gain is not as big as many make it out to be.
I put on a few pounds over the holidays is a commonly uttered phrase once January hits, but how true is it? Do people really gain weight during the holiday season?
Statistics taken from medical records show that people gain about 1 pound during the holiday season, which runs from mid-November to the new year, said Dr. Susan Spratt, an assistant professor in the department of family medicine and community health at Duke University School of Medicine.
This is an approximate number because people were not exactly weighed in Nov. 15 and Jan. 1. So, some studies show it’s about a pound, some show it’s between 0.8 to 2 pounds, says Amanda Beaver, a wellness dietitian at Houston Methodist Health Services. It varies quite a bit.
Beaver added that this weight gain is found in adults, not in children or college students. Many people talk about weight gain during the holidays, but it’s usually not as much as people often fear, Beaver insists.
But worse than any potential holiday weight gain is the shame surrounding food this time of year.
“I tend in my practice not to emphasize that at all, and really try to steer people away from that fear and try to just focus on improving the relationship with food, hunger and fullness cues,” Beaver said. .
So while this may be true people Possible gain weight during the holidays, the idea that it’s bad can be mostly BS Here’s why, and what else you should know:
Food shame can ruin your enjoyment of the holiday season and can also be unhealthy.
People often worry about holiday weight gain, but a poor relationship with food can be unhealthy, too. Thoughts about holiday weight gain, especially among dieters, can create fear around the foods they want to enjoy, Beaver said.
And then that creates a bunch of guilt and shame, Beaver said. And if they are in a place where they are trying to lose weight, the holidays can be difficult to navigate and can create a lot of emotional burden and stress, because they may really want to enjoy something they once enjoyed. and they feel they can’t.
Beaver says she tries to get people away from that limit-based mindset and instead work on their habits and relationship with food during this time.
That way, they don’t feel the shame and emotional burden that can sometimes lead people to just throw up their hands, and then maybe go overboard or binge and then feel a bunch of guilt. then, he said.
Experts say you shouldn’t let the fear of weight gain stop you from eating your favorite holiday foods and, the average person only gains about 1 pound this time of year.
A nutritionist-backed rule of thumb? Don’t skip meals or restrict yourself.
We want to avoid skipping meals … because we can put it in a place where we feel very hungry when we arrive at the party or gathering, and then we tend to overeat and eat faster when we overeat hungry, said Beaver.
Before going to a holiday party, approach your meals like normal, says Beaver. In addition, do not restrict yourself.
Balance is the most important part this time of year in just finding that happy middle that gives you the ability to celebrate while staying conscious of your health goals, says Spencer Rizk, a nurse practitioner at One Medical.
In other words, don’t deny yourself dessert if you really want it; It might be the only time of year to have your aunts sufganiyot or your dad’s homemade eggnog. Furthermore, telling yourself that certain foods are off limits only creates more temptation.
That could put it on a pedestal, Beaver said. And often when [we] finally, we let ourselves have it, lest we go crazy and overdo it.
To avoid this situation, give yourself permission to have the foods (or drinks) you want. And when you have something you’re looking forward to, focus on actually enjoying the food or drink, not just avoiding it, says Beaver.
For those who are strict about calorie and nutrition tracking, Rizk adds that it’s OK to allow yourself a few special foods and drinks this holiday season.
An extra 500 or more calories a day during the holidays, even a little more, won’t interfere too much with their long-term health goals, Rizk says.
Finally, be sure to hydrate and eat nutritious foods.
Make sure [you] drink enough water and eat lots of plant-based foods with lots of fiber, which will keep you full, says Spratt.
This could include holiday salads filled with fresh vegetables, or dishes made with beans or nuts.
Additionally, Beaver says to balance your plate so your body gets the fuel it needs.
We want to try to get a source of protein, if that is some chicken, fish even deviled eggs have some protein or beans, lentils or tofu, Beaver said.
And then some kind of carbohydrate source like potato, even fruit, any kind of green dish … and then a fruit or vegetable. This one is really key, because we still want to make sure we’re getting our nutrients and our vitamins … during the holiday season, Beaver added.
Remember: Extreme holiday weight gain is not the truth.
Patients won’t be told we don’t want you to gain a few pounds this season; “We don’t want patients to feel embarrassed or feel insecure,” Rizk said.
Additionally, many people worry that they will have to buy bigger pants at the end of the vacation, but that is probably not the truth as you will probably not notice the small amount of weight you are lifting, if you wear whatever.
It’s true that you can gain weight this time of year, but it’s not the extreme weight that people are talking about, Rizk says.
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