The Skinny on Holiday Weight Gain!

My Bariatric Life Health Guide

  • The holidays are here. Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and it seems as if stores have been decorated for Christmas since the Summer. This is not true of course, but Christmas does have a way of showing up earlier than it used to. Well, let’s go then and deck those halls. But first, Thanksgiving.


    As is customary, we will surround ourselves with family and festivity. Uncle Joe and his cigar, Aunt Mary and her contagious laugh, the Macy’s parade, college football, autumn leaves, and food. Lots of food. An eye-popping, stomach-stretching, button-bursting, head-spinning, help-me-I’ve-fallen-down-and-can’t-get-up amount of food. Here comes the fabled holiday weight gain. But, wait…

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    Weight Gain At the Holidays


    Ever since I can remember, the popular assumption has been that holiday weight gain will be somewhere between three and ten pounds. While this may seem logical given the amount of food that is available between Thanksgiving day and New Year’s day, it is not factual. The truth is that most Americans gain only one pound over the course of the holiday season.


    Before you blow that sigh of relief and fish out the traditional holiday over-sized fork, there is more. This one pound that is gained is a tenacious pound, a pound that takes root and will not be budged. After the holidays have passed, our one pound weight gain stays with us. It will stay with us again after next year’s holiday season, and again after that. By the time we have reached our golden years, we are carrying the load of one pound gained per year, every year, for decades.


    A small study composed of eighty-two college students found that although the average body weight of the students did not change too much over the holidays, their body compositions did. The result was an increase in body fat as a total percentage of their weight. This translates into increased potential for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.


    Furthermore, it was also discovered that those who started out at a heavier than average weight were more likely to experience a greater weight that could be as much as five pounds or more.


    It’s Not Just All About Food


    Anyone of us might be the type who cannot say no to a good looking platter. The truth is that some people just overeat at the holidays because there are so many rich and seductive offerings. Others may be motivated by different causes though.


    If you have ever tried to find a parking space in some mega-mall in mid December, then you know that holidays are accompanied by some degree of holiday stress. Food can be a stress reliever. Unfortunately, very few people use a head of lettuce or a tomato as comfort food.


    Some people overcompensate for the New Year diet resolution they probably won’t keep by eating in overdrive throughout the holidays while others forsake all discipline because they had a extra piece of cheesecake. Now that the regiment has been breached, why try at all until January second.


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    And finally, we all tend to get less sleep at the holidays. We are busy, busy, busy and, if we are awake more, we are probably eating more.


    If you enjoyed this artice, you might also like to read, "25 Recipes for a Grain-free Thanksgiving." I discuss why eating grain-free is important to weight loss and provide delicious recipes for every course on your Thanksgiving menu.


    Living life well-fed,



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Published On: November 19, 2012