Research shows most Americans never lose the weight gained during the holiday season | CraigDailyPress.com

Research shows most Americans never lose the weight gained during the holiday season

By Lauren Glendenning Brought to you by Memorial Regional Health

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and many of us are still in a food coma after consuming our favorite traditional holiday dishes. And, for some of us, our pants might even feel a little snugger already.

Indulging during the holidays is what Americans do, but there are smarter ways to enjoy the treats and festivities this time of year without needing to buy new, larger-sized clothing in January.

Balance and moderation are important in our daily lives, but they're especially important during the holidays, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Choose more vegetables and fruit. Select just one or two of your favorites from the host of tempting foods," according to the CDC's holiday health and safety tips. "Find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music. Be active for at least 2 ½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least one hour a day."

Research shows that most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays, according to the National Institutes of Health. If you gain three or four pounds, for example, that's as much as 20 extra pounds in just five years. Even one pound of weight gain adds up over the years.

It's also easy to fall off your exercise routine when you indulge, which is exactly the opposite of what you need to be doing during the holiday season, according to The Cleveland Clinic.  To compensate for any extra calories consumed over the holidays, you actually should be exercising more than usual. For example, if you normally exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 45 minutes. The Cleveland Clinic also recommends exercising more often, too — if three times a week is the normal routine, make it five times a week during the holidays.

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Regular morning exercise is also shown to lower food cravings throughout the rest of the day. And, if you keep a solid routine throughout the holidays, your New Year's resolutions won't be so hard to follow.

Quick tips for preventing holiday weight gain:

  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Exercise more often, and for longer periods, than your normal routine.
  • Don’t arrive hungry to a party, but don’t starve yourself all day before the party because you’ll end up overeating.
  • Keep track of what you’re eating (if snacking on appetizers at a party, for example, save the toothpicks in your pocket to remember how many you’ve consumed).
  • Don’t go overboard on the sweets.
  • Walk more.

* Source: WebMD and The Cleveland Clinic


Stay strong and maintain a healthy weight:

  • Stretch daily, even just for 5 to 10 minutes to maintain flexibility
  • Do weight-bearing resistance training three to four times a week, using hand weights or resistance exercises at home, or join an exercise class.
  • Do cardiovascular exercise three to four times a week, such as a brisk walk or run.

* Source: Memorial Regional Health