Holiday Weight Gain
During the holidays, it is even more challenging to focus on weight loss goals. Some may see the fall and winter seasons as their reward time after slimming down for the summer, so they loosen up their diet and exercise plans. Add in the unhealthy foods which are typically served at big family feasts during the holidays, and the instinct to gain weight to fight the cold and it’s a recipe for diet disaster.
This holiday season, it is beneficial to learn proactive ways to prevent overeating and gaining those unwanted holiday pounds. That way, there is more potential for a better start to next year’s weight goals.
While most people will only gain about a pound or two during the holidays, it can be a slippery slope in losing that weight. Studies show that holiday pounds tend to carry over into the next year, and recovering the motivation for weight loss can be difficult.
Causes for Holiday Weight Gain
There are some factors during the holiday season that have an increased effect on how much weight may be lost or gained. While reasons for the change in weight are year-round factors in everyday health, they intensify through the fall and winter.
- Stress. Holidays are stressful times. Added chores, such as shopping, hosting dinner parties, stressful family get-togethers can all contribute to trying times this year. Stressed out individuals have elevated cortisol levels. Cortisol is a naturally occurring hormone that causes an increase in appetite, which makes it easier to gain weight.
- Sleep. Stress can also affect a person’s sleeping habits. A lack of sleep affects the hormone patterns, which regulate levels of hunger and can directly impact eating habits. Sleep deprivation can cause people to consume more calories at later times at night, which leads to weight gain.
- Depression. Studies have suggested that there is a direct link between gaining weight and depression or anxiety. During this particular time of year, depression is more prevalent. Although the reasons may vary as to why more people are depressed during the holidays, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real thing. It is a type of depression that occurs during seasonal changes.
- Feasting. Quite possibly the most obvious reason for holiday weight gain is because there are so many holiday get-togethers during the holidays. Office parties, large family dinners, potluck dinners with friends, and other parties often do not offer many healthy dining options. It isn’t hard to overindulge during significant holiday events.
How to Avoid Holiday Weight Loss
Even though dieting can be tough during the holiday season, there are ways to keep weight gain to a minimum. By taking a few precautionary measures and practicing self-control, it is still possible to enjoy holiday feasts without the added guilt of adding on pounds.
- Portion control. Big dinners and potlucks tend to offer a wide variety of food items. It’s like going to a giant free buffet. It’s hard not to want to sample every dish, so it is essential when doing so to keep portions to a minimum. An excellent way to do this is by using a smaller plate. A small, loaded plate tricks the mind into thinking that they may be overeating when really they’ve just overloaded a small plate.
- Stay active. The holidays are times when people may tend to skip out on their exercise routine because there are so many other obligations and not enough time. However, sticking to a proper exercise routine helps regulate metabolism and prevents fats from storing up too much. Exercise early in the morning also helps create a calorie deficit, which provides a head start before eating a big holiday meal. Physical activity also helps people mentally. It encourages an individual and boosts confidence, thus aiding with depression and anxiety.
- Sleep. Get the right amount of sleep every night. Doctors recommend eight hours of consistent, uninterrupted sleep every night. Make an effort to get to bed early and at a consistent time. Avoid eating dense carbohydrates or empty calories before going to bed, as well. It is best also to avoid caffeine and sugar before bed because these foods tend to disrupt sleep cycles.
The Bariatric Experts Offers Weight Loss Programs
The holidays don’t have to make losing weight seemingly impossible. They are
supposed to be times of the year that allows for relaxation and time with loved ones.With a little planning and self-control, this holiday season can be less hectic, less stressful. It won’t reverse the progress made throughout the year. If you are concerned that maintaining weight loss on your own is too challenging, The Bariatric Experts offers Weight Loss Programs that do not involve surgical procedures. Our program will help you reach your weight loss goals! Contact us today to learn more.