Holiday Weight Gain Myth and Controversial Turkey Day Tips
I hope this finds you well a midst the excitement, and perhaps the chaos of preparing for Thanksgiving! As I head out for our annual Turkey Bowl football game on Stare Field (these neighborhood kids are getting huge!) I thought I would share a few tips that might make your holiday more enjoyable and even healthy. These tips might seem a bit controversial, but they work!
But let’s start by dispelling a major myth about holiday weight gain.
7-10 pounds gained during the holidays?
You have probably heard this figure touted in the media as the average weight gained during the holidays. However, research shows that this is not the case. A study done at Tufts in 2000 (Roberts SB, Mayer J. Nutr Rev. 2000 Dec;58(12):378-9.) showed that the average gained from Thanksgiving to New Years was about 1lb. However, given that the average adult gains 2 pounds a year, it is significant that 50% of this gain occurs during a 6 week time span. Also of note, those who were overweight or obese were more likely to gain more weight during the holidays. 14% of the study participants who were overweight or obese gained over 5 lbs. This tells me that controlling weight gain during the holidays is probably much easier than the myth would lead you to think.
Now for a few simple, and somewhat controversial Turkey Day Tips
1. Don’t over think today’s feast. I could tell you about making sure you eat a few small meals in the morning so you don’t over indulge at dinner. Or about how to practice portion control for your thanksgiving dinner. Or to limit to one starch. But I’m not convinced these ideas are necessary or effective. It is one day. It’s chaotic and stressful for some. For others it is the first time in forever that they just sit, hangout and relax. Sometimes taking a break about planning your meals is fine. For most, this is a good idea.
2. Don’t complain about how much you are overindulging! In all likelihood, no body wants to hear about that. If it bothers you that you over ate, pledge to be more active and return to your proper habits the next day. Simply do something about it, but don’t complain.
3. Start your fat loss plan on Friday. Given that most will gain weight during the holidays, I think starting a fat loss program during this time is a great idea. The reality is that it takes a few weeks to change the habits, learn the truths, and clear out the head trash and misinformation about proper health and fat loss.
It’s a myth that this process should be started when things are perfect – life is stress free and calm, allowing you to focus finally on your health. The truth is, in the world that my clients and I live in, life is never predictable or calm. It’s always busy. There is no “ideal” time to conquer fat loss or fitness transformation. There is nothing like taking control a midst chaos. It is the most empowering thing you can do. The best victories I have seen in helping clients transform their health is when they make significant health changes in spite of schedule, family, and work challenges. These people are empowered. They feel like they can do anything. And they do!
So the above simple tips are my challenges to you. Don’t obsess over tomorrow’s food or beat yourself up over transgressions, and start your health transformation during the start of the holiday season.
What better way to give thanks than to do what you can to keep your body healthy? You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to try to do your best if you want to feel better. You will be grateful that you did.
And as always, I’m grateful to be a part of helping you get healthy in any way.
Holiday Weight Gain Myths and Controversial Turkey Day Tips