With the cold weather of the fall and winter often comes less activity, more sleep, and comfort foods. And holiday get-togethers only amplify this trend. With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas coming soon, the urge to enjoy the company of family and friends while catching up on old times and filling up on lots of comfort food is stronger than ever.
Weight gain increases the risks of multiple conditions that can further affect your health. Of course, you want to enjoy good cheer and good food, but it is possible to do so without gaining weight and increasing those risks. We explore how to stay healthy while enjoying the holidays by examining the affects of weight gain on your health and providing tips to avoid gaining those pounds.
Increased weight can affect almost every part of the body, and with over 40% of the US already dealing with weight problems, adding pounds this holiday season only adds you to the list of people at a higher risk for many conditions, ranging from moderate to severe. These conditions include heart disease, stroke, depression, liver disease, cancer, diabetes, infertility, kidney failure, joint pain, and weakened bones and muscles.
The additional fat that weight gain creates can also lead to other problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea, an increased risk of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), high blood pressure, and even rashes in the folds of fat.
It is not necessarily true that all these conditions happen because of a few big meals, but indulging and letting the weight pile on over time carries the same risk.
Here are some ways to stay slim and healthy over the holidays:
Inactivity is doubly dangerous when you’re eating heavily as many people do over the holidays, so make an effort to stay active over the festive months. Something as simple as walking more frequently can get cardio going and help your metabolism process food. Being more physically active can make a difference.
All the delicious foods that people make over the holidays can be tempting, but you shouldn’t pile on the plate. Try smaller portions of food to keep the weight gain as low as possible.
What you eat is just as important as how much you eat, and comfort foods contain a lot of fat and calories. Be mindful of what you’re eating to stay healthy.
Stress can come in many forms while traveling to meet family, while visiting your destination or even over discussions at a meal. It can increase the cortisol your body produces, which can cause weight gain. Reducing stress will make a difference to your weight and your health.
Another way to approach dietary concerns is to bring healthy foods to share to ensure that you get some nutritional value from your meal.
Replacing ingredients in foods high in fat and cholesterol can be mitigated by adding healthier choices to your homemade dishes. Replacing butter with applesauce or chocolate chips with fruit and using greek yogurt instead of heavy creams and cheeses can help to provide a unique flavor to foods while keeping them healthy.
You should be free to enjoy your time with family and friends but monitor what you’re eating and how much you’re consuming. If you have other dietary concerns about holiday eating and weight gain, make an appointment today with Dr. Okafor and Sugarland Primary Care.