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Health & Fitness

Steering Clear of Holiday Weight Gain

Written by: Jesse Aduma

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How to avoid gaining weight during the holidays

With the arrival of the holidays comes a host of different festivities, which provide the opportunity to kick back and relax with loved ones, with provision for usually enormous amounts of assorted meals. Beginning with Thanksgiving, going through Christmas, Hanukkah, and the New Year, having a bunch of festivities packed together exponentially increases the tendency to gain weight from all that “face stuffing,” especially since we tend to cut physical activity to a minimum during the holidays. This occurrence has so efficiently been labeled as “holiday weight”—weight gained from indulging in unhealthy eating habits over the course of the holiday/festive periods.
In an attempt to counteract this, some people adhere to strict dietary regimens, either after to get themselves back into shape, or during the holiday period to stay clear of any extra weight to begin with. While these methods may be effective to an extent, adhering to strict dietary restrictions may, in some cases, be considered inefficient, as not only will individuals be depriving themselves of their favorite holiday foods, but this could also make one grumpy and irritable—which isn’t an ideal state of mind for the holidays. Rather than needlessly depriving yourself of the joy of the season, it’s a lot more effective to familiarize ourselves with what exactly causes holiday weight. This way, we may be able to adjust personal habits and practices to individual preferences, so we can enjoy our favorite dishes without coming out the other side with a bloated waistline.
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What Causes Weight Gain?

One of the factors with the most influence on weight is diet. The food we eat plays a huge role in deciding the state of our physical bodies. This is because the body requires calories to perform everyday activities and tasks. “What exactly are these calories?” you may be wondering. Well, calories aren’t any special foods; no, calories are just units used to measure the amount of energy the body requires or uses to perform tasks and activities. It is the unit used to measure how much energy is received from the food we eat.

What is of vital importance is that, while the body accepts these calories from consumed foods, and uses them as energy to fuel the body’s activities, the ratio of how many calories come in to how many are spent is usually what determines fat development and bloated waistlines. This is because calories consumed and not burned by the body are hoarded and stored as fat.
As a result, there are two major and very effective measures for weight regulation; one is you make an effort to burn as many calories as possible by performing various activities that help burn calories fast. It is from this concept that Exercise is born. Two, if you aren’t so keen on exercising or just want to double your efforts for maximum effectiveness, you can control the number of calories consumed daily. This way, even if you do not burn many calories daily, you can still keep from having excess by not consuming so much in the first place. From this concept came Dieting.

According to Cosmopolitan, some popular holiday foods stacked with insanely high amounts of calories include pecan pie (503 calories per 1/8 of a standard pie), sweet potato casserole (about 400 calories per 200-gram serving), eggnog (about 838 calories per quart), snickerdoodle cookies (480 calories in two cookies), and turkey legs (about 334 calories each).
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How to Steer Clear of Holiday Weight

Now that you know the weight gain process and the food most likely to trigger it, here are a few tips to keep you in shape. Amongst a vast sea of techniques and hacks, these two have been proven the most effective means of retaining your figure while still being able to enjoy your favorite holiday foods.

Portion Control

So what exactly is portion control?

Portion control is consciousness in meal planning. It is the healthy consumption of food with regards to quantity, exercising moderation in food consumption, helping you get the benefits of the nutrients in the food without overeating. Unlike dieting, which could mean avoiding certain foods completely, portion control only suggests you mind the quantity. A vital role of portion control is that it helps regulate weight; a little tweaking could also aid you in gaining weight, and it helps keep you in control of your body. Since a major reason for gaining weight during the holidays is frequent eating, portion control will prove efficient as it will enable you to control your appetite while also allowing you to enjoy your favorites, unlike adhering to a strict diet which is a more severe treatment as it limits food consumption to the bare minimum needed for daily performance. Some other health benefits of portion control include faster digestion, weight regulation, helping to regulate blood sugar levels, and allowing you to stay energized throughout the day with enough calories needed for optimal performance.
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It’s common knowledge that exercising is a key factor in trying to lose weight. However, many people get turned off at the thought because they tend to picture strenuous workout routines and complex workout machinery, when doing as little as taking regular short walks once or twice a day can go a long way in regulating weight gain/loss. Exercising doesn’t have to be about huffing and puffing while deadlifting. Taking evening walks can be most effective because your metabolism typically slows down toward the end of the day.

Besides the piling on of weight due to a low metabolic rate resulting from inactivity, such a lifestyle could also cause you to feel tired and fatigued; it could lead to heart diseases, hormonal imbalances, depression, and other long-term effects.
The traditions and roots of the Day of the Dead run deep in Mexican history and date back to before the Spanish conquest. Many families honor their deceased relatives by placing “Ofrendas,” small offerings that are placed on their altars. These offerings often consist of the deceased’s personal objects or favorite food, photographs, incense, colorful paper craft, with different colors for different meanings, and salt to purify. They are placed a few days before the 1st and 2nd of November, when the dead are believed to return to visit their relatives and friends. This stems from the idea of the celebration of death in life and is a very festive period. An important symbol of Dia de Los Muertos is the Flor de Cempasúchil, also known as the Mexican Marigold, a bright orange flower that grows during autumn. Traditional meals often include favorites such as tamales and atole; however, anyone with a sweet tooth will look forward to the desserts during this season. The Pan de Muertos is a classic staple, a delicious, sweet bread loaf coated in sugar and decorated in what looks like a pile of bones.
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So as an alternative to regulating your diet, another sure way to prevent the hoarding of calories is to perform more physical activity in order to help burn down these calories. Therefore, the more regularly you exercise, the less likely you are to gain weight and the more likely you are to lose a few.

And yes, with this method, you should be able to eat your fill of your favorite holiday dishes without gaining extra weight, just as long as you balance it out by taking every opportunity to burn extra calories. For example, go on evening walks, opt for the stairs rather than the elevator, etc.
Whether you choose portion control or working out, committing to any of these is sure to give you the desired results. However, for optimal physical health, merging the two is advised. This will not only help you avoid holiday weight by keeping you in shape, but adding exercise to your daily routine, no matter how minimal, will also help boost physical health and reduce the risk of health issues. Pull Quotes: The ratio of how many calories come in to how many are spent is usually what determines fat development and bloated waistlines Exercising doesn’t have to be about huffing and puffing while deadlifting cropped troora favicon 1
Jesse Aduma
TrooRa Magazine
Written by
Jesse Aduma
Plateau State, Nigeria
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