Government statistics show that more than half of all adult Americans are overweight (based on body mass index). 54.9% of Americans have a body mass index of 25 or more. A BMI of 25-29 is considered overweight. 22.3% have a BMI of 30 or higher and are considered obese.
Previous studies show that as adults, Americans tend to gain an average of 0.4-1.8 pounds each year. Scientist weren't sure if this weight gain was spread over the course of the year or if it was gained at specific times during the year such as the holiday season.
Guess what the study showed? Drum-roll, please!......
Many think they gain 5-10 lbs between Thanksgiving and New Year's, but but the study (done by Researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases) found that most people gain about a pound (1.05 lb)between October and late February or early March. Most of that weight gain (0.8 lb) occurred during the six-week interval between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day.
Not surprisingly, study participants who were much more active during the study were less likely to gain weight over the holiday. Some actually lost weight. Participants who were less active during the holiday period had the greatest holiday weight gain.
So how do you maintain your weight over the holidays? Run! Workout! Be active! Also keep in mind calories in and calories out. To gain a pound in one week, you have to ingest 3500 calories above what you normally ingest during a week. That's an extra 500 calories a day. That sounds like a lot, but keep in mind that one slice of pecan pie has 500-800 calories! Does that mean skip the pie? Nah....but what it does mean is that you need to be aware of what you're eating as well as uping your activity level to help keep a balance between those calories in and calories out.
Maybe Christmas Eve is the big family meal for you, or maybe it's New Year's Day. Whatever it is, think about saving up for those extra calories by eating a little lighter the days leading up to the big feasting day while at the same time keeping up your running and exercise routines.
Remember that higher-intensity workouts are going to be better for burning those extra calories. So during the holiday season, add a few more interval workouts into your routine. You can do this at a track or right on the treadmill at home or in the gym. Just throwing in some fartleks into your regular 5-miler will help up the intensity too. Resistance training is another great way to up your metabolism and burn more calories. So hit the gym and lift some free weights.
Don't deprive yourself for those special holiday treats, but think moderation and stay active. Run! Run! Run!