Wednesday, November 24, 2010

According to Scientists, You Will Probably Gain 1 Pound Between Now and New Year's Day

In the last 3 days, I've seen about 10 different "lists" with suggestions about making healthy eating choices on Thanksgiving.  Some of the points I agree with (e.g., use a small plate, choose more vegetables, go for a walk before dessert) and others I just can't get on board with (e.g., avoid alcoholic beverages).

All these lists got me thinking about holiday weight gain.  Do most people gain weight between now and New Year's Day?

Some 'healthy living' websites indicate that people gain 5 lbs during the holidays.  But the scientific research does not support that number.  Most studies show an average weight gain of 1 pound between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.  This number is higher for those that are already overweight or obese.  But even then, it is less than 5 lbs for most people.  Of course, these are averages, which means that an individual may be higher or lower than the 1 pound average. 

This is much less than I thought it would be.  I almost always gain weight over the holidays (unless I luck out and catch the latest norovirus)...and it feels like more than 1 pound.  But since I don't know how to use my bathroom scale, I'm not entirely sure how much weight I really again.  [I also "don't know how" to use power tools, take out the garbage, put up Christmas lights, or cut the dog's nails.]   

But what is most concerning is that most people do not lose this weight after the holidays.  Which means that what you gain between now and New Years stays with you.  Weight gain during the holidays may be the primary reason why adults gain 1-2 pounds a year and migrate from normal body weight to overweight to obese over a lifetime.  It's almost like the rings on the trunk of a tree...with each year, there's another layer that makes the trunk thicker and thicker over time. 

And so with with that happy thought in mind, enjoy your Thanksgiving!  :)   

P.S.  Just a few "tips" that most of these lists seem to be missing:
  1. Weight gain does not happen overnight, so eating light on Wednesday and Friday will allow for more flexibility on Thursday.
  2. Champagne has fewer calories than most other alcoholic beverages...and is oh so yummy.  The "loaded/unloaded" drink rotation (alcoholic drink/water) is always a good idea. 
  3. Soup (the brothy kind) is low in calories, but studies also show that it makes you feel fuller than most other foods.  A big bowl of chicken or bean soup for breakfast or before Thanksgiving supper might be the best appetite suppressant out there. 
  4. Take the dessert to go and have it for breakfast on Friday.  It'll be something to look forward to (a naughty treat to eat dessert in the morning) and will spread the calories out over the next day.  
  5. Chew gum.  If you're (politely) chewing gum during social occasions, you're much less likely to keep grabbing for another appetizer or small taste of something. 

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. The one pound thing vs. the five pounds that I've always heard about is encouraging. But the rings on a tree simile...not so much. Bottom line: I will have take-out dessert for breakfast more often. :)