It starts with Thanksgiving, and we give thanks. But then, a Holiday diet? No way. We give in to the abundance of tempting holiday foods. But do we have to?
Thanksgiving has become the kick-off of the holiday season celebrations and the beginning of preparations for the New Year. It all begins with a sumptuous feast where family and friends get together and give thanks for all they have. The next day we have leftovers and, for many, the food-fest continues through the December holidays. New Year’s Day usually marks the moment when many say ”enough is enough” and get back on their program. Some choose to incorporate a gym membership or other exercise regimen in addition to resuming their nutritional plan; restarting their weight control routine.
Sound familiar? The truth is many Americans gain a lot of weight during the holiday season. Some publications assert that the average weight gain is 5-7 pounds, but this is disputed. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that “Since this gain is not reversed during the spring or summer months, the net … weight gain in the fall and winter probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood.”1 Medical research indicates that those who are overweight at the start of the holiday season gain the most weight during this time.2
Holiday Season Diet Facts
Bottom line with respect to the medical evidence about weight gained during the holiday season:
- The weight is rarely lost and therefore accumulates throughout adulthood.
- Those that are overweight at the start of the season tend to gain the most.
These facts indicate that holiday weight gain may be the biggest contributor to adults being overweight and thus to many adult life-threatening illnesses! Additionally, CardioMender’s experience reveals that our patients who make a conscious decision to lose weight during the holidays have the highest sustained weight loss compared to those who choose to begin losing weight after January 1st.
Knowing these facts and knowing that being overweight contributes to many serious debilitating illnesses such as Type-2 Diabetes, coronary artery disease and certain cancers, the choice seems clear: Commit and DON’T submit!
The reality is, holiday foods are all around us. When we eat them we feel good in the moment, but they can exert a drug like effect on us, and then it’s hard to stop. Eating many of the traditional celebratory holiday foods leads to overeating, progressive weight gain and deregulation, both behaviorally and physiologically.
“How to Celebrate the Holidays and NOT Gain Weight”
On our website, we provide original recipes of variations to traditional holiday favorites. They include: Pork Roast with black cherry balsamic reduction over rice, Collard Greens with Smoked Turkey, Seafood Pesto over Pasta and Faux Potato Pancakes (latkes). For dessert and your New Year’s toast enjoy Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, Christmas Cookies, Doc’s Eggnog and Doc’s Bubbly, a Champagne substitute.
Choose to celebrate in style, and not feel deprived. Ask us for additional holiday tips, so that this year does not become a re-enactment of past holiday seasons.
Let’s give thanks and celebrate, but don’t give in. You’ve Got to Live it!
1. New England Journal of Medicine. 2000 Mar 23;342(12):861-7. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. Yanovski JA1, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O’Neil PM, Sebring NG.
2. Nutr Rev. 2000 Dec;58(12):378-9. Holiday weight gain: fact or fiction? Roberts SB1, Mayer J.