OK, It’s not the kind of fake news that’s spread through Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, but this time of year, the “news” stories about holiday weight gain are almost always overblown. The truth is, most people don’t gain that much weight during the six-week period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. However, the bigger problem is that many never lose what they’ve gained during that time.
Here’s what the science really says about holiday weight gain. A study published in New England Journal of Medicine says we gain, on average, about one pound during the holidays. The study included 195 participants who weighed in before and after the six-weeks between Thanksgiving to New Year’s. The researchers also found that overweight or obese participants were most likely to gain more than five pounds during the same time frame.
What can you do to prevent gaining the additional lb. Here are five strategies to combat holiday weight gain.
Rethink Your Drink
Beverages don’t contribute to fullness like foods do, so one proven way to keep your diet in check is to limit liquid calories. Avoiding alcohol can help even more because in addition to being loaded with calories, drinking stimulates your appetite while reducing your inhibitions to decadent treats.
Up Your Exercise Intensity
One of the best ways to make your body more resistant to extra calories is to get more exercise. In a recent study from the University of Utah, researchers found that a 45-minute bout of intense exercise countered most of the negative metabolic effects associated with increased calorie intake. So even if you do overeat during, exercise can help prevent those calories from being stored as body fat.
Downside Your Plate
Eat from appetizer or bread plates instead of the standard pizza-sized dinner plates. Research shows that you’ll shave about 10% or more of the calories in your meal, while feeling equally satisfied. Since we eat with our eyes, so it appears like you’re eating more when you downsize your plates and bowls.
If You Bite It, Write It
Keeping a food log of everything you eat and drink during the holidays will help consumers avoid mindless eating and will help them stick with their resolve to NOT gain weight. Even better, use a hunger scale and monitor how hungry you are before and after each meal and snack.
Eat a Protein-Packed Breakfast
Those who eat a protein-rich meal at breakfast eat fewer calories all day. Protein is the most filling nutrient and helps keep your hunger hormones in check through midday.