4 Popular Holiday Health Myths, Busted

4 Popular Holiday Health Myths, Busted

Between all-day movie marathons, donuts at the office, and eggnog, the holidays are not kind to your waistline. Even the most avid exercises succumb to the holiday temptations. Plus, the colder weather can often deter people from carrying out their regular workouts. While all of this may be true, there are popular “facts” that are anything but.

Some holiday traps are very obvious. Pumpkin pie, pecan pie, cookie platters, and savory dishes like candied yams are calorically dense and heavy on the sugar. You know this information, and you also know that drinking a pumpkin spice latte every day during the holidays is not conducive to better health. What you may not be aware of is that some of your greatest holidays health obstacles are common myths. Below, we detail the most common holiday health myths and easy ways to overcome them for a healthier start to the New Year. 

Myth #1: You’re Too Busy To Work Out

The fact is that you are not too busy to work out. While high-calorie holiday meals can make you sluggish and cold weather may not inspire outdoor workouts, exercising altogether is not a wash during the holiday season. A lot of people like to cash in on vacation days at the end of the year. Use the hours on some of those PTO days for quick sweat sessions. That doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym. Get creative with the way you burn calories! Head out for some cross-country skiing or hit the slopes with friends. Don’t sit around the house all day with family; rather, go for a winter hike, build a snowman, or have a snowball fight. You can even do yoga in your own home! Plus, if you have to shovel your driveway, that is a huge workout!

Myth #2: Whatever Weight You Gain, You’ll Lose In The New Year

Well, the odds aren’t in your favor. Although most people only gain one or two pounds during the holidays, the majority of them never lose the weight, according to researchers. In fact, most people don’t follow through with their fitness resolutions, and they don’t make the right dietary changes to encourage weight loss. Statistically, people buy more calories worth of food between January and March than any other time of year. Why is that? Well, they buy healthier foods, but they don’t cut back on unhealthy foods. Basically, you pick up more fruits and vegetables, you feel good about that, and then you reward yourself with a treat. Treat grocery shopping like packing for a vacation: make a list, determine the essentials, and leave half the remaining items on the shelf. 

Myth #3: Americans Gain About Five Pounds Between Thanksgiving And January 1st

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Americans only gain about one to two pounds during the holiday season. A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is 1.7 pounds. There is no need to obsess about what you eat, but you should be strategic about it. It is completely natural to overindulge on Thanksgiving, but don’t sweat it. Additionally, if you attend holiday parties, bring a healthy dish because then you know you have one nutritious option. If you have parties and have tons of leftovers, consider freezing smaller portions so that you don’t eat everything in a matter of days. 

Myth #4: If You’re Already Fit, You’re Less Likely To Inflate

Being in shape doesn’t mean that you are immune to the effects of overindulgence and inactivity. You may have more metabolically active tissue than others, so your metabolism operates at a higher efficiency when you exercise regularly. When you gorge on a 3,000-calorie meal and continue to eat heavy meals of that nature, your metabolism may slow down. A meta-analysis found that if you stretch out Thanksgiving-style eating for two weeks, your belly fat can increase by 7%. Stay focused and adhere to your workouts and healthy eating plan, as you normally would. If you find that you indulge more than usual during the holidays, amp up your workouts to help offset your caloric intake.



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