Is This The Least You’ll Weigh All Year?

According to a semi-global study, late October and early November are peak times for  “best” weights for Americans. It’s right afterwards, during holidays, that we tend to grow larger (and we don’t mean taller.)

Tighter Clothes: Post-Holiday Woes

The New England Journal of Medicine recently published its findings from a three-country study. The weight loss-and-gain of Americans, Germans, and Japanese folks were observed. Around this time of year, late fall, Americans weighed in at their lowest compared to the rest of the year.

In Germany and Japan, the results were the same. Thousands of participants were tracked using wireless scales. In all three countries, the participants’ weight rose within 10 days after Christmas Day. The heaviest day for mostly everyone in the study was around New Year’s Day.

Holiday Feasting

The common thread between all three countries is that a major holiday falls in a similar time period. Each of those holidays is celebrated with food—and lots of it. In America, of course, there’s Thanksgiving. In Germany, it’s Christmas, and in Japan, Golden Week.

Although the greatest weight gains were observed through November and December, the study also showed that there was significant weight gain around other major holidays as well.

Some Good News

It isn’t all downhill for our waistlines after the winter festivities. On a positive note, the study showed that up to half of the weight gain was lost pretty quickly after the holidays.

The Other News (…Not so Encouraging)

There’s a reason why gyms do amazing business after the first of the new year. Everyone signs up wanting to shed the extra weight they recently acquired. According to the study, the bummer news is that about half of the weight that was gained in the winter tends to stay on until summer (and sometimes beyond.)

More Self Control Needed?

If you don’t mind (or truly enjoy) being part of this statistical study, then don’t give any of this another thought. Eat, be merry, and worry about it later.

If, however, you really don’t want to gain weight during the holiday season, some serious mindful eating will need to come into play. Food celebrations will be all around you, tempting you. Mashed potatoes, stuffing, pies, rolls, egg nog, the list can and will go on… You will need to make some hard and fast choices.

Will you nibble here and there, so you won’t feel deprived? Or will you eat very healthy, smaller portions most of the time in order to indulge yourself a small bit? Or will you kick up your exercise regimen in order to burn the extra calories?

Clearly, the less you gain, the less you have to lose. Keeping that in mind, don’t stress—just try and make the healthiest decisions and stick by them. Enjoy your comforts and the people in your life. That will feed your soul well.

How to Completely Change Your Eating Habits in 2018

If you were completely honest, could you identify which of your eating habits do not service your best health? And, once you pinpointed those habits, would you be willing trade them in for something better? If so, read on to learn how you can completely change your eating habits in 2018.

Let’s Dish on Not-So-Great Eating Habits

 

With the New Year often comes a list of behaviors we’d like to change or improve. One of those items on your list might be the way that you eat. Before we can fix it, we need to recognize it. If you’re having difficulty zoning in on your specific not-so-great eating habits, perhaps the following list can help.

Do you…

  • Skip meals and then overeat?
  • Eat late at night?
  • Eat junk food because it seems convenient?
  • Eat when you’re not hungry?
  • Eat on the run or standing up?
  • Eat when you’re stressed or depressed (emotional eating)

If you indulge in any of the above practices, you’re not providing your body with the best health opportunities possible.

 

How to Make Changes in 2018

 

Eating habits can be a tough nut to crack when wanting to make changes. The desire can exist but the motivation and information may be lacking.

As for motivation, keep in mind that when you make healthy eating choices, you can extend the quality of your life. Excess fat (and toxins) from processed foods and chemicals (including sugar) can lead to heart disease, heart attack, stroke, type-2 diabetes and some forms of cancer. Motivation can be to get healthy/stay healthy/live longer.

As for information, below you will find several suggestions on how to make changes in your eating practices.

 

1) Eat breakfast. If you’ve had a good night’s sleep (7 hours or more in a row), then your blood sugar needs rebalancing when you awake. After all, you’ve been fasting. Clinical dietician Dr. Christy T. Tangey reported, “Studies have found that although people who skip breakfast eat slightly fewer calories during the day, they tend to have higher body mass index, or BMI.”

 

Refueling at the beginning of your day:

– makes you more alert and focused

– makes you less apt to snack or binge eat

– boosts your metabolism (and helps you burn more calories throughout the day)

– sets you up for a healthy day of eating and productivity

 

Sitting down to a plate of eggs, bacon, and toast is not ideal. However, scrambling a couple of eggs or eating a hard-boiled egg are good choices. Oatmeal is quick and healthy, as is yogurt with no-added-sugar granola. A fruit and veggie smoothie with a good fat (flax seeds, almond butter, or avocado) is another great option.

 

2) Keep healthy foods nearby. When you start feeling hungry, grab an apple, a carrot, a celery stick, popcorn (no butter), or a handful of nuts. It’s OK to snack; in fact, it’s preferred as opposed to getting too hungry and then overeating at your next meal. Keeping your select foods with you can come in handy when you’re stuck in traffic, preparing a meal, or when you don’t want to eat the cake at the office.

 

3) Control portions. We don’t need a lot of food—we just need the right ones. Your plate should consist of half veggies and the other half a combo of protein, whole grains, and good fat. This can be achieved on a salad-sized plate. Don’t eat directly from a container or a package—you can easily lose track of how much you’re eating.

 

4) Finish eating way before your bedtime. Going to bed on a full tummy is an awful idea. But, even a small bowl of ice cream or a glass of wine can affect your weight, metabolism, and the quality of your sleep (from the sugar content.) Brush your teeth after dinner; this may prevent you from eating again before bed. If you get a craving, soothe it with a slice of fresh fruit or fruit-infused water. Golden milk has also shown to promote better health when drinking it at least an hour before turning in.

 

5) Replace sitting around snacking with something else. Instead of watching TV and munching on corn chips after work, deliberately chose an alternate activity. Join a yoga class or a Bunco game, take a walk, practice an instrument, or get involved with anything that can distract you from bored or binge snacking.

 

6) Sit down and slow down. Eating should be done mindfully. It’s a process that is nourishing your body to keep you healthy and alive. It justifies your attention. Try not to eat standing in the kitchen. Pull up a chair and take a few minutes to relax and enjoy. (Food is a good thing!) Slow down your eating process, too. It takes your brain up to 20 minutes to notice you might be full. You can avoid overeating by taking smaller bites, chewing longer, and drinking water in between. Using silverware also helps; eating with your hands often makes you eat faster.

 

Hopefully, changing your eating habits makes the top of your New Year’s resolution list. With motivation, information, and action, you will rock it! Best of health in 2018 and many future years to come.

 

Sources:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-and-nutrition-pictures/bad-eating-habits-and-how-to-break-them.aspx#10

https://healthyforgood.heart.org/add-color/articles/healthy-snacking

https://www.pennmedicine.org/news/news-releases/2017/june/timing-meals-later-at-night-can-cause-weight-gain-and-impair-fat-metabolism

https://www.rush.edu/health-wellness/discover-health/why-you-should-eat-breakfast

https://getthrive.com/sugar-hiding-get/