With all the holiday goodies and treats this Christmas, it’s easy to stuff ourselves silly and start New Year with guilt. This season comes hand in hand with eating which may or may not mean that we eat more and different than we normally do.
Let’s admit it! Christmas is an indulging season and while it could evoke possible and real consequences, not everything that we believe about holiday weight gain is true.
To outline a few, here are three Christmas weight gain myths busted by research.
- Seasonal treats are your biggest enemy for overeating.
That pumpkin pie and fruit cake may be tempting but experts found eating ‘socially’ has a stronger impact on our food intake. Yes, we eat more when we have company than dining alone.
In fact, according to experts at the University of Birmingham, we eat 48% more when we eat with friends and family which is a common scenario during Christmas at parties and gatherings.
A potential solution to this? Redesign some of your holiday habits. To avoid unconsciously putting anything in your mouth while at a social gathering, move your conversation to a room with no food in sight. You can also suggest fun activities like game of cards or plan your Christmas get-together window shopping or going to the amusement park.
- You can’t undo all your holiday weight gain by sweating.
Sorry to break it to you but you can’t just cancel out those holiday pounds through exercising, and you shouldn’t have to.
In a study at Texas Tech University where half of the subjects were inactive and the other half were working out five hours a week for 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year, it was revealed that sweating out merely made any difference and both groups gained about the same amount of weight.
Beyond that, the mentality that exercising is a way to compensate or punish yourself for overindulging during the holidays is an unhealthy mindset. There is more to being active than just losing weight like reducing stress, improving mobility and boosting your energy levels.
- You are predestined to enter the New Year bigger and heavier.
Fact: Bloating is different from fat weight.
Christmas day feasting can leave us feeling heavier. But one reason why we think we gained more weight than we actually did is because many holiday foods usually have large amounts of sodium and sugar which cause bloating, water retention, and a ‘stuffed’ feeling.
The good news is that bloating comes and goes and most of it will pretty much go away once you resume your regular eating habits. Very few people really gain as much as five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
“Fat gain really does require overeating over many days and weeks and months,” says author and registered dietitian Cynthia Sass.
Do not let your inner food police ruin your holiday spirit. This annual celebration is more than just stressing and obsessing how you will look when the festivities are over. Simply get back on track with your regular eating and exercise habits and you’ll certainly shed all that holiday pounds in no time.