End of year, also known as holiday weight gain is real.
It’s real and often exaggerated. Although gains of more than 10 pounds are reported, the average weight gain during this time of year is about one pound. Do you care about end of the year weight gain? Does it matter to you?
Before you answer, know that the average weight gain of one pound is just that, the average. It is a number that encompasses all the highs and the lows and may not even reflect what the weight gain is for most people. It’s like the average number of children in American families – 1.8. Who actually has 1.8 children? Nobody has 1.8 children, so let’s forget about averages and pay attention to how many pounds will be your personal holiday weight gain.
Your weight gain could be less or possibly a lot more.
Holiday weight gain isn’t the problem you may think it is. Most people shed half of the weight gained during the holidays immediately. The problem is the other half of the gain that takes longer to lose, and for many, never gets lost at all.
I don’t think worrying about gaining weight during the holidays is a productive use of time. I think it either creates anxiety that leads to feelings of hopelessness and overwhelmed that leads to overeating. Some people find that the anxiety paralyzes them into not enjoying the season or the special season’s eatings. After the holidays pass then they feel depressed because they failed to enjoy the holidays. That depression can lead to overeating after the holidays have passed.
My holiday strategy that’s worked well for me for more than 20 years is built on enjoying the season.
I eat what I want, but before I eat it I make sure I really want it. I don’t eat just because the food is there (well, most of the time at least) I apply 3 criteria.
- How hungry or full am I
- How special is this food on a scale from 1 – 5 (1 being common and available all the time and 5 being only available around the holidays)
- How many treats have I already enjoyed today and in the last few days
How hungry I’m feeling let’s me know how hard or easy it will be to stop. I try not to ever get too hungry. Snacking on fruit and vegetables helps and no meal skipping prevent that.
If I’m being offered something as common as a few Oreos, I’ll pass. I’m not saying I don’t like those cookies. I’m saying they’re always available and although they’re good, I can eat them anytime. If it’s a slice of homemade pecan pie, I’ll go for it. I have fewer than half a dozen opportunities to eat homemade pecan pie all year.
If I had homemade pecan pie yesterday, I may pass on eating it today. I may pass on it, but I’m not saying I would definitely skip it. It depends on the other 2 criteria. If I were full I may skip it. If it was another piece from the same pie I ate yesterday and it was really, really good I may opt for a little sliver. If it was just okay, I may pass.
That’s it. That’s my holiday weight gain resistance plan. It’s not much of a plan, but it’s all I need.
Some Januaries my weight is a little higher than I wanted and sometimes it’s right where I want it.
I don’t get upset because I relaxed my efforts, and I actually see relaxed efforts and a little weight gain a sign of good health. I don’t get upset, I just tighten my efforts and that’s all you need to do if you weigh more on January 1, 2017 than you do today.