Ah, yes, "The Holidays!"... Wait, we gain an average of how many pounds this time of year??
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It’s December 13th. That time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
It’s COLD out here in the North East. And we’ve got some snow hanging out on the ground, which I LOVE!
We’ve got some family coming into town this weekend. Christmas is the following weekend.
I imagine people may have parties or other holiday festivities going on.
I’m also feeling pretty pregnant these days (just about 25 weeks now!).
What am I getting at?
There’s a lot going on! And these kinds of schedules and events may lead to different levels of focus or care around our food plans.
I know I posted about this holiday time period just a few weeks ago, so don’t want to go crazy, but, in case you didn’t know, research shows that people gain an average of 1-2 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
This study (PMID: 10727591) shows that the individuals involved gained an average of 1 pound during the holiday season, but that they did not gain or lose weight at other times of the year, and that gain “probably contributes to the increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood.”
Another study found that purchases of more calorically dense and “nutritionally undesirable” foods are at their highest in December. And that those purchases “are accompanied by weight gain from November to January. Despite weight loss after January, the November to January weight gain accounts for 60–70 % of the annual gain.”
Here’s the thing. I 100% believe that we should enjoy ourselves, within reason, over the holidays! I’m not sharing this information to instill fear in anyone or anything like that.
Equally, weight shifts are NORMAL and especially when we’re eating differently we might see changes on the scale. So, first of all, don’t panic if you see any shifts!
I am, however, sharing it so that we can become more aware of where those weight changes come from as we age, because, remember, we can’t “blame” metabolic changes until age 60!
In the moment, it may “only” seem like a few pounds difference, but over a 10-20 year period, we’re talking about 10-20 pounds, and now that’s significant.
I imagine it’s a lot of the above that contribute to the creation of resolutions leading into the New Year. We know we’re indulging more. We know we’re buying more treats this time of year. We may be drinking more, attending more parties, whatever it is.
Heck, just the other day I made my favorite Christmas cookies for no reason at all besides it being “the Holidays”. I wasn’t taking them anywhere, they’re not going to make it to Christmas (they probably won’t make it to this weekend at the rate I’m eating them, if we’re being honest!)… I just felt like making them and tis’ the season, right?!
I suppose I could say that it’s the pregnancy cravings coming up, but that would be a lie… this is the first time I’ve been pregnant, and NOT the first time these holiday cookies have been made and eaten before Christmas!
So, I’m not sharing this information from my high horse of perfection. No, I’m right there with the majority of you out there. Enjoying the holidays, making and enjoying more “treats” than I typically would, and not feeling bad about it.
With all of this being said, what are some of the things we can do to help ourselves out this time of year, and potentially get ahead of some of that annual weight gain?
Here are a few suggestions:
Keep yourself moving! Go for walks or get your workouts in. This is incredibly important. Not necessarily in a calorie trade off—it doesn’t really work like that—but more so because continued movement keeps us in our habit and continues to promote health and wellbeing in our minds and routines.
Continue to keep your healthy food focus staples. Water, protein, fruits, veggies, etc, even IF you’re having a few more treats.
Consider setting reasonable boundaries for the number of treats or drinks you’re having. Maybe it’s between 0-2 treats per day so you can still enjoy a little something, if you want it, without overdoing it!
Get sleep! Aim for 7-9 hours per night as best as possible. This promotes digestion, recovery, healing of muscles, etc. which can also help prevent weight gain and inflammation.
And, instead of making a resolution that you may or may not end up dropping in a few weeks or days, I invite you to consider taking a different approach to the New Year.
Although this Jumpstart is geared towards helping us start the year on a healthy track, this is NOT meant to be a makeup or “detox” from the holidays. Sure, it might help you re-establish some of the habits you want to include most, but we never have to “make up for” food choices or actions. We enjoyed our holidays and time with friends and family, and now we’re simply deciding to do things a certain way moving forward!
So, no, we’re not making up for the holidays.
We’re starting out the year focusing on the sustainable healthy habits that most contribute to body composition changes and helping us reach our goals, with a little self-care thrown in.
If you could use this kind of accountability and support starting the New Year, I’d love to have you on board.
In fact, I’d love for you to invite anyone who needs a little jumpstart into 2023 to join! The more the merrier! All are welcome!
I promise I’ll help support everyone who joins to figure out exactly what they need to do to be successful and hold you accountable throughout!
Go to this link for all the information about what you will target for those 23 days, what you get when you sign up, and to actually sign up: https://www.nutritionforlifeproject.com/23DayJumpstart
Feel free to share that link with anyone else who might be interested too!
As always, thank you for reading, and let’s stay on top of and mindful about the realities of the holiday season!