Just when you're finally getting your weight under control, boom! It's the holidays, and food is everywhere. From the office to the factory, from the office supply store to the drugstore (not to mention parties and family events galore), it seems as if the Thanksgiving-to-New Year's holiday season is one long, tempting food fest designed to make you gain weight.
Add in the emotions of the season and experts say the holidays can deal your weight loss efforts a double whammy.
Almost as soon as the Times Square ball drops and the confetti is thrown, many of us start making resolutions to improve our health and our lives. Then, within a few weeks, our resolve often fades -- and we go back to our old, bad habits. But what if, instead of trying to make sweeping changes, we resolved only to tackle a few easy ways to lose weight and boost health?
The health and weight lossresolutions that stand the best chance of lasting are the ones that call for minor, doable changes, experts...
"You've got the stress of the holidays, along with a lack of sleep, and, for many, a cauldron of bubbling emotions coming to the surface -- and you've got all this food beckoning you at every turn," says Warren Huberman, PhD, a clinical psychologist specializing in weight control at New York University Medical Center. "It can be a dangerous combination for those who have problems controlling what they eat."
But it is possible to keep the holiday food fests from ruining your weight loss plans. One of the best ways to start, experts say, is by discovering what your personal holiday overeating cues really are.
Food and Feelings: The Holiday Weight Gain Double Whammy
Though it may seem as if the temptation to overeat is all wrapped up in those hand made cannoli or that German chocolate cake, just being around more scrumptious food isn't the whole story. One recent study indicates that, for most of us, the drive to overeat at any time of the year is governed more by emotion than environmental cues.
In research published in the journal Obesity, Heather Niemeier, PhD, and colleagues found that for many people, the seed of overeating is actually planted within their emotions. Further, they found that people whose overeating is triggered by emotions tend to have a harder time losing weight and maintaining weight loss.
"When it comes to successful weight loss, our research showed that our emotions and our thoughts seem to actually play a bigger role than environmental cues -- we eat in response to feelings -- and for many people, the holidays can drum up a whole treasure chest of feelings, both good and bad," says Niemeier, a researcher with Miriam Hospital's Weight Control & Diabetes Research Center and the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island.