Ask any weight loss program or fitness club. January is their busiest month for people signing up to lose weight. New Year’s resolutions often include going on a diet or getting into shape. But if the New Year was not immediately preceded by Christmas, our resolutions might not focus so much on weight loss and fitness.
Christmas has two aspects that can pack on the pounds: the “cuisine” and the “crunch.” Somehow we have connected Christmas with endless rounds of dinners, work parties and family gatherings that all include excess food, in particular sugary delicacies.
The Christmas “crunch” is about finding just the right gifts, the right outfit or planning the best party, all without going seriously into debt. For many, stress comes from trying to organize a family gathering to fit everyone’s schedule. For others, without family, they are reminded that this is missing, adding yet another source of stress.
In what is supposed to be a joyous time of year, some people are stressed because they are not as happy as they believe they should be.
The connection between overeating and overweight is clear, but stress is another big contributor to weight gain. Under stress, the hormone cortisol is released. Cortisol promotes the storage of body fat as an ancient human survival mechanism. Many people are under a lot of stress already; then Christmas comes along and pushes them over the top.
Christmas is a wonderful time of year, but excess eating and excess stress can lead to unwanted weight gain. My wish for everyone this year is to enjoy Christmas but to keep the “cuisine” and the “crunch” in moderation. Your waist line and your wallet will thank you.