You’re probably asking yourself, “Is this girl dumb?”
Obvi I know that everyone eats like there’s no tomorrow over the holiday season and then wants to look cute on New Years Eve… I do it too. The interwebs are oversaturated with articles full of techniques to maintain your waistline this holiday season — even WebMD hopped on the bandwagon… but why?
Is this crazy horrifying weight gain crazy or horrifying?
There’s a common belief that the average American gains 7-10 lbs from the end of November through early January. I agree, that’s a shit ton of weight, I wouldn’t want to put it on it either. To gain 1 lb you need to consume 3,500 extra calories. This would mean you’re consuming anywhere from 24,500 to 35,000 calories extra. I’m very sure that trying every one of these holiday cookies wouldn’t get you anywhere near 35,000 calories. This article from Gothamist is a helpful reference if you’re curious about the calories in your favorite goodies.
I’d like to know who this average American is, and why he or she felt the need to scare the shit out of people with this estimate because it’s just not true. Like, it’s false, seriously. This article from The New England Journal of Medicine, written by real-life doctors and people that understand the human body, basically calls bullshit on that estimate and then proves it wrong with real facts. #Science
The study analyzed the weight of 200 adults before, during, and after the holidays. The results show that during the holidays participants only gained a whopping 1.3 lbs, so everyone can really calm down now.
Is it that big of a deal if you gain a few?
In the same study, participants lost about 1/4 lb after the holidays ended. It didn’t mention that they increased exercise or revamped their diets, either. As you return to your normal routine, your body will also recover and go back to normal. However, if the holidays hit you like a wrecking ball (and you think you’re beginning to resemble one) losing that weight really isn’t too hard.
Let’s say you ate about 20 too many of Grandma’s latkes and you gain 3 lbs — twice the average amount in the study. Addressing this from a practical perspective, it’s totally possible to lose that weight in a reasonable amount of time. Instead of making a ridiculous New Years resolution to eat only cucumbers, ditch the eggnog, read these easy food swaps, actually make them, and workout. Problem solved.
Who really cares?
When I asked myself this question I immediately had two conflicting answers:
1. Not me!! No one will even notice #yolo #treatyoself #loveyoself
2. Um, I care actually.
To analyze these answers fully, I’d need to write a much longer article full of rambling about my own mental state that you certainly would not want to read, so this is me trying to condense the dissertation:
If you truly care about the number on the scale and the fact that your sweatpants are all that fit you right now I challenge you to ask yourself why. Is it because you feel a little sluggish? Or is it because you feel like people will look at you differently? If the former, refer to question 2; if the latter, think about the fact that everyone else is also currently slightly rotund, and then continue reading.
While it’s incredibly important to love yourself, treat yoself, and #yolo sometimes, it should be sincere. When following the phrase “no one will even notice,” the hashtags are pretty much canceled out. Don’t base your opinion of yourself on that of others and don’t give yourself a break just because people aren’t watching. I know, it’s so much easier said than done, but love yourself and treat yourself well because you really deserve it — not because that’s what you think you’re supposed to say.
The holidays are a time that should be focused on family, friends, and all the other things that lift your spirits, like cupcakes. Don’t waste this time thinking about the size of your jeans, because I hate to break it to you, no one else is.