What is the average weight gain during the time between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day? While some reports range from 5 to 10 pounds, no solid clinical research is availble to support this popular belief.
In fact, a well-known study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that average weight gain in America is just about one pound during the holiday season. The study also found that many overestimated their weight gain by more than 3 pounds.
Still, weight gain did happen. Not surprisingly, study participants that participated in physical activity had less holiday weight gain. Those most vulnerable for greater weight gain during the holiday season were overweight and obese individuals.
Preventing holiday weight gain in the first place is clearly the first priority. Now that the holidays are behind us, the focus is on maintaining a healthy weight or achieving it with sustained weight loss.
In any case, don't let any holiday weight gain that may have happened discourage you from continuing your efforts. Like many others, you may even be overestimating how much weight you actually gained. If there is some holiday weight gain you need to reverse, remember: we can always learn from our mistakes for the next season and prepare in advance.
Until then, we have countless strategies to achieve and maintain our goal weight. One of the best strategies is blood sugar stability.
When you step off the blood sugar roller coaster, a fat-burning hormone known as glucagon is released. This helps burn stored fat for energy. It also helps lower your levels of the fat-storing hormone, insulin. This is the optimal environment for weight loss.
Make sure to evenly distribute high-quality protein and healthy fats throughout all your meals to accompany the carbohydrates you eat. Also, use this same pattern for snacks between meals. This will keep your blood sugar levels steady.
1. N Engl J Med 2000; 342:861-867