“Jolly” Doesn’t Have to Mean “Chubby and Plump”

If this were just one holiday, that would be one thing. But here in the United States, we have a whole season of celebrations, any one of which has proven to add 0.6% to a person’s body weight, on average. Taken all together, the time from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day generally adds three pounds to a 150-pound person – and more to many of us.

The same study showed that the holiday weight did not begin to come off until the following summer. And, as many of us learn firsthand, the older we get the harder it is to take it off at all.

Wouldn’t It Be Easier to Keep from Gaining it in the First Place?

Clearly, it would be easier not to gain the holiday weight in the first place. Or would it? Just because it’s logical doesn’t mean it’s easy.

If it were just a matter of keeping the usual routine during the holidays, or being conscious of what we’re eating, that might be doable. Maybe not easy but doable.

Plenty of Tips

There’s no shortage of tips and common knowledge about keeping the holiday weight gain off. And, in fact, one of the farthest-reaching tips is to stick as close to your “real life” schedule as possible. Keeping your sleep and exercise routine intact counts for a lot, because we often mistake fatigue for hunger.

Eating more slowly is another good tip, and it should be easy given all the chances for mealtime conversation that occur at holiday time. Waiting at the end of the meal, unfortunately, is an example of Mother Nature’s sense of humor: The deep part of our brain that signals we’ve had enough to eat is 20 minutes behind our stomach. So, clearly it’s time to use the frontal lobe and stay aware of how much we’ve had.

Speaking of having enough, alcohol consumption tends to rise during the holidays, and it’s well known that these are high and empty calories. A useful holiday secret is that nobody is noticing whether you have a drink or not. Not if the party is any good, anyway.

Weight Gain is Not a Tradition, But They Are Related

If following all the available tips was as easy as finding them, though, we wouldn’t see so many people have such a hard time.

The traditions and expectations that come with the holidays play an important role in dialing up the difficulty. What we think we have to do, to live up to the holidays of our childhood (or some idealized image of what how more fortunate people celebrated), is often unrealistic.

And just as often, it involves cutting back on personal time, including exercise and relaxation, and dialing up the calorie intake to keep the traditions whole and the host or hostess happy.

When we see the decorations and hear the music, when friends and family gather, then compelling signals fire off in our brains and we want to complete the picture by eating the way we did when we were growing children. Our metabolisms today are not the growers and calorie-burners that they were then.

Why Not Make Your Family Physician One of Your Family Traditions?

Remember, your family physician is standing by you in these days as well as all the others, and the holidays are good reminders of all the good things that depend on our health.

If you don’t have a regular family physician, well that’s the essence of our practice. Just call us at 843-815-6468.