For years we’ve been warned not to overindulge during the holiday season. They scared us by telling us that adult women typically gained between 5 and 10 pounds in the six weeks from Thanksgiving through New Years. That is a lot of extra weight.
But guess what, it turns ‘they’ were wrong. Well, at least according to a study released by Texas Tech University, “Holiday Weight Gain, A Growing Problem”. The study suggests the average weight gain by Americans between Thanksgiving and New Years is closer to 1.5 pounds. It’s still weight gain. However, there is a big difference between 1.5 and 10 pounds!
On the other hand, don’t start thinking you can just party hardy for six weeks. Unfortunately, the study also indicates that Americans typically gain about 2 pounds per year. If you do the math, that means 75% of our average annual weight gain occurs during the holidays.
So what does it all mean? It means to enjoy the holidays but be smart about it.
How to Enjoy the Holiday Season Without Sacrificing
The need for hydration, especially if you will be consuming alcohol, cannot be overstated.
Alcohol is a diuretic. Diuretics decrease the amount of fluids in our bodies. Potential side effects include lethargy and exaggerated symptoms of a hangover.
There are easy fixes. First of all, ensure that you are fully hydrated before you even go to the celebration. Secondly, keep a one-to-one relationship between alcoholic drinks and glasses of water. For every glass of wine or cocktail you have, drink one full glass of water before having another drink. Finally, have another glass of water before going to bed.
You will be thanking yourself in the morning!
Also, remember that alcohol is full of empty calories. Below is a quote from the Health.Gov Dietary Guidelines website:
For example, 12 ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol) may have about 150 calories, 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol) may have about 120 calories, and 7 ounces of a rum (40% alcohol) and cola may have about 155 calories, each with 98 calories coming from pure alcohol.
Have a Snack Before you go to a Party
You will be tempted by a lot of food at the party. Though you may not be able to avoid the temptation completely, you will have far more control over your consumption if you aren’t starving.
Think high fiber or high protein. How does a slice of whole wheat bread with peanut butter sound? Perhaps a piece of fruit with a couple of pieces of low-fat cheese? Another great choice is low-fat yogurt with fruit and a sprinkling of high-fiber cereal on top.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep deprivation or lack of enough sleep can become a serious issue during the holiday season.
Sleep deprivation can cause drowsiness and impact your decision-making abilities. It can also affect your health. For example, it increases your risk of high blood pressure and heart issues. Lack of sleep can also magnify the impacts of alcohol on your body.
Getting enough sleep during the holidays may seem like an impossible task, but try to keep your regular sleep schedule.
You will feel and look better for it.
Bottom line, go out and enjoy the holidays, but do it mindfully.