Why You Shouldn’t Stress Over Holiday Weight Gain

People get so stressed out as the holiday season ramps up.   They create expectations for themselves and other people of the postcard perfect holiday season.  There’s shopping to do, cleaning, herding kids, making menus, Black Friday deals to scour.  Who has the time to do it all?  Add to that, many people worry that a holiday meal like Thanksgiving is going to force everyone to go out and buy new pants the next day!

Quit Worrying!

And don’t stress so much about how clean the house is and whether the onions you bought were organic.  No one is gonna ask much less notice.  According to Examine.com, holiday weight gain isn’t as bad as we think it will be.  It pays to be thoughtful about what you eat, but overeating is not going to have the huge impact you fear.

The good folks over at Examine.com recently published an article called “When You Binge on Thanksgiving, What Happens Inside Your Body?”  It’s a good read for anyone curious about the impact of eating at a food focused occasion like Thanksgiving.  I recommend you read it but in case you’re gearing up for the Black Friday sales, I’ll give you some highlights to keep in mind.

Thanksgiving means eating a lot … and gaining a lot of weight; but little of that weight is fat. Most of it is water and soon-to-be-poop. Overeating for a day, even by one or two thousand extra calories, won’t cause much fat gain. (Not to mention that many overeaters won’t eat as much as usual the next day.)

So if you’ve eaten more than you know you should at Thanksgiving, don’t despair.  You’re not setting yourself back to square one.  Try and eat slowly and stop when you’re full to avoid overeating.  An after dinner walk to aid digestion is always a good idea (it can also get you out of the house when the political debate gets too heated)!

Overfeeding on protein (e.g., turkey) will cause less fat storage than overfeeding on alcohol (e.g., wine) or fat (as is plentiful in delicious pumpkin pies, not in the low-fat abominations). If you’re prone to overeating on Thanksgiving, it may be wise to load up on a bunch of turkey first, to help with appetite suppression.

This is good advice here.  Start with the protein, cut back on the wine, make the slice of pumpkin pie smaller.  Along with the turkey, load up on the vegetables, drink lots of water and have smaller portions of the mashed potatoes and stuffing.  You’re still going to be enjoying a variety of delicious foods even if you make items like the stuffing and potatoes more of a side than the star of your meal.

Significant body fat is gained in weeks or months, not in hours or even in days. On the other hand, water weight can vary rapidly with salt and carbohydrate intake, exercise, and other factors. Eating a typical Thanksgiving meal can easily increase your body fluids, tricking you into thinking you’ve gained lots of fat. Even over the holiday season, however, not everyone gains fat, and feeling like you’ve gained weight doesn’t always mean you have.

How true this is!  It takes time to gain weight and usually just as long or longer to lose it.  Consistency is key to losing or maintaining weight, but don’t think that one holiday meal is going to derail progress and make you fat.  It just doesn’t work that way (thankfully)! Enjoy your Thanksgiving meal shared with family and friends, be mindful about what you’re eating and savour every bite.  Then go back to your normal eating habits as soon as you can.

Stay fresh and thankful,

Margaret

Fresh Bites Nutrition

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