Most media stories and research I’ve read start tracking holiday weight gain from Thanksgiving to New Years, but I personally start gaining weight around Halloween.
Also, I usually buy too much chocolate “for the trick or treaters” but I think we all know that’s a load of crap; I buy extra because I am a chocolate whore.
Thanksgiving is not too much of a problem for me, other than the excessive carb loading. Mashed potatoes, corn bread, stuffing. I love gravy too, which is kinda gross when you consider that it’s just animal fat and flour. I’m not much of a pie eater, so after I sleep off the turkey coma I can get back to the gym.
Christmas is a real doosie. When I worked in commercial real estate there were about a billion networking cocktail parties to attend. Salty, high-fat finger foods, alcohol, and mini desserts that seemed so small they couldn’t possibly hold that many calories would pack on some serious poundage.
According to a study quoted in the NY Times, the average weight adult gains just one pound over the holidays, but an overweight adult will gain five pounds because life is unfair.
A different article from the NY Times talked about a study done in 2010 that I found particularly interesting. The study took three groups of men, gave them a super high calorie diet and studied them for six weeks. Group A was the control group; they didn’t exercise at all. Group B did intense workouts after breakfast. Group C did intense workouts before breakfast. Group A gained about 6 lbs., Group B only gained 3 lbs. and Group C (the people exercising on an empty stomach) did not gain any weight. (Here is a link to that study.)
Last week when I was in NJ I tried this science project out first-hand. My family is obese and I totally caved to their food lifestyle while I was home. Fried chicken, pizza, pasta, chocolate-dipped ice cream cones, soda, cake, chocolate chip muffins, roast beef hoagies with extra mayo, alcohol; it was disgusting. Yet I ate every bite. I also ran for an hour every day before eating breakfast. And the results?
Well – mixed. I gained about a pound when by all rights I should have gained at least five, so I’d have to say that the exercise on an empty stomach trick worked for me overall. But mostly I felt awful. My stomach was churning so much that by the last day the only thing I could eat was old fashioned oatmeal that I begged Henri to buy me.
So, this holiday season I’m creating a game plan:
Halloween: 1) Buy candy I don’t like, thus ensuring I will give it all away. 2) Remind myself that I will be standing in a bikini on stage three days after Halloween. (Fear is a great motivator for sticking to one’s diet.)
Thanksgiving: 1) Do my own cooking for the family to help control ingredients. Sweet potatoes instead of regular potatoes, butter spray instead of butter, Stevia instead of sugar for baking.
Christmas: Oh God, I love Christmas food. F*** it – I’ll just run before breakfast.
Do you have a holiday game plan? If so, please share!
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