Gained a Little Weight this Holiday Season?
What’s the deal with holiday weight gain? Sixty-two percent of us are likely to gain two and a half to five pounds of fat during the holiday span. A pound of fat is the same size as 16 ounces of lard, or 16 ounces of butter also known as a “brick”. So, a five pounds gain of fat would be like adding 20 sticks of butter to your physique. It would first be helpful to understand the two major reasons why the majority of Americans gain fat at a higher rate during the holidays.
The obvious contributors to holiday weight gain can be credited to more frequent social gatherings where hosts and guests provide numerous treats, hearty meals and libations that are often rich and high in calories.
The less obvious contributor is stress. Americans (as a generality) place higher levels of stress on themselves than most of the world (not to say that we live in more stressful conditions than the rest of the world). The holiday season brings with it the stress of pulling off a perfect holiday while impressing family and friends, balancing finances, traveling, gift buying and decorating.
Stress causes weight gain in two ways. First of which is through an increase in the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the reason many people gain weight during stressful seasons even though the diet remains consistent. Secondly, our mind wants to calibrate the body out of stressful feelings which is why we often go for the ice cream versus salad during stress.
Chronic stress and cortisol affect weight gain through:
• A lowered metabolism due to raised cortisol
• Cravings for “happy/fun” foods that are typically high in sodium, sugars, fats and processed foods that lead to temporary pleasure but ultimately increase belly fat and poor health.
Finally, stressed people feel too busy or too overwhelmed to take care of themselves. The solution is to understand what is impeding your health and beat it.
If the issue is poor eating, maybe you need a meal plan created for you and your goals. Sometimes it is easier to follow a map to get where you want to be.
If the issue is stress, find ways to beat it. Understand that your mind needs peace and will keep throwing what it perceives to be stress relievers. Take control of your stress by recognizing that exists, eliminate what stress you can and apply healthy ways to alleviate stress. For some it is cleaning, others gardening, or cooking. For me, exercise does the trick.
If you’re ready to get back on track after the holiday gatherings, business and stresses, give me a call.
For more information on relieving stress through exercise or having meal plans created, call or text Jim with Ignition Fitness at 661-714-8149.
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