Hello again! I hope this blog post finds everyone doing well. This is a great post written by Tracy Owens in December of 2011. She is the nutritionist to whom we refer most of our patients. At the end of the blog, you will find her contact information if you have any further questions about how to avoid the battle of the bulge this holiday season. We hope she can continue to be a great resource for our patients.
Every year we hear the same statistics, “the average American gains 7-10 pounds during the holidays”, which we will define as between Thanksgiving and New Years. Holy night, if that is average, what is the highest amount of weight that some people may gain?! Where did these statistics come from anyway? I am here to bring you good news of great cheer: weight gain over the holidays has been studied, and in fact, the average weight gain is a little over one pound.
A study of the holiday weight gain phenomena was done in Bethesda Maryland, and reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. Study participants included 195 people of all ages, with weight ranges from 94-305 pounds, comprising 51% women and 49% men. People who were already overweight gained a little over one pound. The two biggest factors that affected weight gain were hunger and activity. The less hungry one was and the more activity that was done, there was less weight gain or no weight gain. On the other hand, the hungrier one was and less activity equaled more weight gain. So what is the problem with this holiday weight gain if it is in fact not really that much after all? The problem is that for most people, research shows it stays with you until the next holiday…and then the next….It is this slow accumulation of weight that causes folks to reach middle age, look in the mirror and scream, “What happened to my body?!”
Which side of the fence do you end up on at holiday time? You don’t need to check some diet list and check it twice, let’s just simplify what you can do to avoid any battle of the bulge this holiday season.
1. Listen to your hunger cues, which by the way are in your stomach and not in your mouth. Your mouth may really want all kinds of treats, but are you hungry? Stay away from the two extremes on the hunger scale: starving or stuffed. Eat when you feel hungry; don’t wait until you are starving. Then stop eating when you feel full, not until you feel stuffed like Santa.
2. When faced with a buffet of foods, whether it is party food or meal food, eat what is a special and leave the everyday food on the table. For example, potato chips and dip can be consumed any old time.
3. Exercise your brain into believing that exercise is the fountain of youth because according to American College of Sports Medicine, exercise IS medicine.
This holiday season, set the stage to have a happy, healthful holiday and give yourself the gift of health.
TRACY OWENS, MPH, RD, CSSD, LDN
Tracy Owens is President and owner of Triangle Nutrition Therapy Inc, a North Raleigh business since 1995. With 25 years of experience as a registered, licensed dietitian, she has a passion to translate the confusing world of nutrition into simple nutrition solutions for clients to enhance and promote health. She also has extensive experience working with expectant moms who need nutrition guidance for multiples, gestational diabetes, morning sickness or healthy weight gain guidelines. Tracy has been providing nutrition consultations for Kamm McKenzie OBGYN patients since 2007. She can be contacted at www.trianglediet.com