- Most individuals acquire simply 1 to 2 kilos of fats through the holidays, and that is simply prevented or misplaced if you recognize what you’re doing within the kitchen and health club.
- Top-of-the-line methods to keep away from extreme fats acquire through the holidays is to eat one massive meal per day, and keep on with low-fat, high-protein, high-fiber snacks the remainder of the time.
- Hold studying to study seven more practical methods to keep away from fats acquire over the vacations (together with find out how to handle your alcohol consumption).
Each vacation season, you see the identical sorts of articles make the rounds:
“Easy methods to keep away from vacation weight acquire”
“Easy methods to maintain off the kilos this Thanksgiving”
“20 tricks to keep away from weight acquire through the holidays”
Every article follows the identical inventory format, sharing stats about what number of kilos of weight you acquire between Thanksgiving and New Years, after which supplying you with an extended checklist of hackneyed weight reduction suggestions like “ditch the added sugar,” or “chew your meals slowly,” or “drink water earlier than meals.”
And in case you’re something like me, you seem like this after studying the primary paragraph:
It’s not that the stats are fallacious or the information are ineffective, however at this level, you most likely know that consuming extra energy than you burn is the foundation reason behind weight acquire, and the one option to not acquire weight is to not eat a lot.
After all, through the Holidays, that is simpler stated than finished.
You’re surrounded by a cornucopia of scrumptious, calorie-dense meals and separated out of your regular routine, which makes it remarkably straightforward to overeat.
So, what must you do about it?
What’s the “hack” for avoiding weight acquire over the vacations?
It’s this: settle for that you simply’ll most likely acquire a bit weight, use some easy methods to restrict the injury whereas nonetheless having fun with your meals, and lose the burden after the vacations with correct weight-reduction plan.
Earlier than we get to those methods, although, let’s study the entire concept of vacation weight acquire in additional element.
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The brief reply?
Not as straightforward as you may assume.
The concept that individuals acquire numerous physique fats over the vacations has develop into axiomatic—it’s simply accepted as reality that you simply’ll most likely placed on three, 5, or extra kilos.
What’s extra, many individuals have been led to consider that vacation weight acquire is the chief driver of weight acquire generally. That’s, they assume that every vacation season they acquire a bit weight that they by no means lose, and this provides up over years and a long time. Thus, they put themselves below excessive stress not to achieve weight over the vacations.
It seems that first level is usually fallacious, however the second level is usually proper.
Analysis exhibits that in actuality, most people solely acquire one to 2 kilos of physique weight within the six weeks between late November and early January (which incorporates Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New 12 months’s).
For instance, a study carried out by scientists on the Nationwide Institute of Baby Well being and Human Growth weighed 195 wholesome women and men at common intervals from late September till the next March.
They discovered that on common, individuals gained about 1 pound between mid-November and mid-January. A 12 months after the research started, the researchers weighed 165 of the contributors once more, and so they discovered they had been 1.4 kilos heavier on common than they had been the earlier September.
Different research carried out by scientists on the University of Oklahoma and Texas Tech University have discovered the identical factor: most individuals acquire about 1 to 1.5 kilos through the holidays.
That’s not even sufficient to note a distinction in your look.
Sadly, although, simply wanting on the common weight acquire in these research hides an essential reality: people who find themselves already obese or overweight have a tendency to achieve way more than people who find themselves at a wholesome weight.
As an illustration, the identical study on 195 adults I discussed a second in the past discovered that 14% of the contributors gained 5 or extra kilos through the ~6 weeks from Thanksgiving to January (a few pound per week), and that weight gained through the vacation interval accounted for about half of their annual weight acquire. These individuals additionally tended to be essentially the most obese on the outset of the research. (The Matthew effect strikes once more!)
As you’ve little doubt heard earlier than, most individuals by no means lose the burden they acquire through the holidays. Regardless that they solely acquire one or two kilos, these small will increase compound over time and switch into 20, 30, or extra kilos over a number of a long time.
Whereas that sounds dangerous, it’s additionally not shocking or inevitable.
The research talked about to date had been on common Individuals, whose diets are generally poor on any day of the 12 months, vacation or no. Most individuals overeat many of the 12 months—the depth simply picks up through the holidays—so that you’d count on them to achieve extra weight throughout this time. The rationale they by no means lose the burden is that they nonetheless barely overeat the remainder of the 12 months.
Right here’s the excellent news:
In case you’re studying this text, you most likely know a bit extra about correct weight loss plan and train than your common bear. And if the typical individual (who doesn’t put a lot thought into their weight loss plan or train habits) solely positive aspects 1 to 2 kilos of weight, somebody like you possibly can get rid of, restrict, or shortly reverse any fats acquire over the vacations in case you’re proactive.
Hold studying to learn the way.
Abstract: Most individuals solely acquire 1 to 2 kilos through the holidays, and you’ll scale back or shortly reverse this weight acquire through the use of the correct weight-reduction plan methods.
You’ve most likely heard all of the following tips earlier than:
- Restrict your meals selections
- Eat less complicated, much less appetizing meals
- Be extra aware of your portion sizes
- Wait 20 minutes earlier than you serve your self seconds
- And so forth . . .
Whereas these suggestions can assist you keep away from overeating in any state of affairs the place you’re offered with numerous tasty meals, like traveling, you’ve most likely discovered they’ve restricted utility through the holidays. “No plan survives contact with the enemy” and all of that.
A part of the enjoyable of the vacations is “letting down your guard” and having fun with your self. This doesn’t imply uninhibited gluttony, nevertheless it additionally doesn’t imply irrational self-denial, both.
So, as an alternative of supplying you with a laundry checklist of trite suggestions that you simply’ll most likely abandon when confronted with a glistening turkey, heat cookies, or a relaxing glass of eggnog, listed below are some counterintuitive however very efficient strategies for limiting and reversing weight acquire whereas having fun with vacation treats.
Having the correct mindset and expectations going into the vacations is among the finest methods to keep away from “falling off the wagon” and “blowing your self up,” as health folks name it.
It’s best to settle for that you simply’re going to achieve some body weight, even in case you acquire little or no if any physique fats.
It’s because a lot of the burden you acquire will likely be resulting from water and glycogen storage and easily having extra meals in your abdomen, so don’t be shocked once you step on the size the morning after Thanksgiving or Christmas and see a a lot greater quantity than you probably did the day earlier than.
Fortunately, this weight additionally goes away inside a few week after you come back to your regular weight loss plan.
Now, it’s probably that some of this extra weight will likely be bona fide physique fats, however once more, you possibly can lose this shortly with correct weight-reduction plan and train.
The lure many individuals fall into is telling themselves they’ve “blown it” after considered one of these weigh-ins and continuing to throw warning to the wind. Of their thoughts, they’ve already wrecked their diet, so they may as effectively go “all in” and take care of the fallout later.
Sarcastically, research exhibits that individuals who attempt to comply with very strict dietary guidelines in all circumstances are the probably to fail their diets. It’s the individuals who inform themselves they “gained’t eat any added sugar” or “gained’t eat any energy after 7 p.m.” or “will eat 1,500 energy per day on daily basis besides Thanksgiving and Christmas” that are likely to succumb to binge eating essentially the most.
We wish to keep away from this, and one efficient method is to take a look at the vacations like a “weight loss plan break,” somewhat than a succession of “cheat days” interspersed together with your common “wholesome” weight loss plan.
That’s, let your self eat a bit extra junk meals and barely bigger parts than you usually would, but additionally maintain within the keystone habits of wholesome consuming (which you’ll study extra about in a second).
So, initially, take a look at the vacations as a time to ease off the gasoline a bit and chill out about your weight loss plan, and don’t overreact in case you acquire a little bit of weight (or perhaps a lot). Most or all of it can shortly vanish after you begin consuming usually once more, and any remaining fats acquire may be shortly dieted off over the following few weeks.
Abstract: Let your self eat a bit extra and a bit “unhealthier” than you usually would through the holidays, be okay with gaining a number of kilos of physique weight; and keep in mind that this isn’t all fats and can shortly go away after you come back to your regular weight loss plan.
Meals is a central a part of the vacations, and sharing meals together with your family and friends is one thing to savor.
That stated, if meals is foremost in your thoughts going into the festivities, you’re going to eat much more than it is best to.
Thus, it’s finest to consider meals as incidental to the general vacation expertise, somewhat than the chief attraction.
On the one hand, don’t severely limit your meals consumption for days prematurely, ruminating on the way you’re going to “spend” your energy through the holidays. Alternatively, don’t power your self to eat like a runway mannequin whereas everybody else enjoys beneficiant parts.
Each approaches contain an unhealthy fixation on meals—psychological vitality that could possibly be higher bent towards different actions that don’t contain consuming, like selecting out and wrapping presents, selecting up and adorning a Christmas tree, going to farmer’s markets, visiting family and friends, taking part in board video games, splitting firewood, and so forth.
Abstract: Don’t take a look at meals as the first attraction of the vacations. As a substitute, take a look at it as incidental to the general expertise.
There are typically two colleges of thought amongst health lovers about how it is best to eat on feast days, normally Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New 12 months’s within the US:
- It’s best to eat filling, wholesome, low-calorie snacks the remainder of the day and particularly instantly earlier than your huge meals, so that you aren’t as tempted to overeat.
- It’s best to eat as little as attainable throughout the remainder of the day to create a big calorie buffer, in order that even in case you considerably overeat, your complete calorie consumption for the day nonetheless gained’t be outrageous.
Which methodology you select finally is dependent upon your private preferences and previous experiences. Sometimes, what I’ve discovered is that individuals who aren’t very skilled with any form of structured weight-reduction plan do finest with possibility #1. They’re used to “intuitive eating,” and would like to simply keep on with what they know works all through the vacations.
People who find themselves extra skilled with meal planning and controlling their body composition are likely to choose the second possibility. They’ve sense of how a lot they’ve eaten, how much they should eat per day to reduce weight, and find out how to successfully reduce weight after gaining some.
Now, whereas this may increasingly look like it contradicts my earlier suggestion about not ruminating on all the meals you’re going to eat, it actually doesn’t. It takes little or no psychological and bodily effort to eat much less on the times of your huge meals, however this may considerably restrict fats acquire. In different phrases, it’s a low-effort, high-reward technique.
What’s extra, you’re most likely going to overeat on feast days irrespective of what number of wholesome, filling, high-fiber snacks you eat beforehand, so that you may as effectively simply eat much less early within the day and luxuriate in your huge meal. In different phrases, you most likely aren’t going to show down dessert since you ate some carrot sticks and hummus a number of hours earlier . . .
Lastly, you’re most likely going to really feel stuffed after the meal and gained’t wish to eat the rest for the remainder of the day anyway (assuming you eat mid-afternoon or early night). Thus, in case you don’t eat a lot earlier than your huge meal and little to nothing afterward, you possibly can maintain your complete calorie consumption below management with out feeling hungry for quite a lot of hours (if that).
If you wish to go together with possibility #2 and create a calorie buffer, right here’s rule of thumb:
Eat about 50% of your day by day protein goal all through the day earlier than the large meal. That’s, in case you usually eat 200 grams of protein per day, attempt to eat at the very least 100 grams of protein earlier than you begin inhaling goodies.
In case you nonetheless really feel hungry regardless of consuming this a lot protein, eat some fibrous vegetables and fruit like apples, oranges, strawberries, and melon to tide you over.
Abstract: If you wish to eat a variety of energy throughout a vacation feast, you possibly can restrict fats acquire by consuming principally protein and fibrous fruits and veggies all through the day earlier than and after the large meal.
One factor I’ve observed is that the individuals who have the simplest time avoiding weight acquire over the vacations are those that confine their overeating to 1 or two massive meals per day and eat little or no the remainder of the time.
Conversely, the individuals who have a tendency to achieve essentially the most weight are those who graze all through the day on high-calorie meals like cookies, pastries, sweets, candies, fatty appetizers, and alcoholic drinks. It by no means seems like they’re consuming all that a lot, however their precise calorie consumption is usually considerably larger than that of the individuals who eat fewer, bigger meals.
It’s simpler to eat numerous energy once you eat them all through the day.
Consider it this fashion: which do you assume is tougher, consuming 3,000 energy value of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, bread, and pie in half-hour, or consuming 4,000 energy of the identical meals unfold out over 16 hours?
Confining your feasting to a single massive meal places a pure restrict on how a lot you possibly can overeat and the way a lot fats you’ll acquire. Research additionally exhibits that some individuals additionally really feel extra satiated consuming three meals per day as an alternative of six (a decrease meal frequency as an alternative of a better one), however this tends to be very particular person, so that you’ll must play together with your meal frequency to seek out what works for you.
So, if you wish to maximally take pleasure in vacation treats with out gaining an excessive amount of physique fats, I like to recommend you let your self eat one massive, calorie-dense meal per day, however restrict grazing the remainder of the time.
If you wish to have multiple massive meal per day, that’s effective, however you’ll have to be extra conscientious about how a lot and what you eat if you wish to keep away from gaining an excessive amount of fats.
Abstract: Top-of-the-line methods to keep away from fats acquire whereas nonetheless having fun with vacation goodies is to eat one huge meal per day and keep away from snacking on junk the remainder of the time.
In case you’re like most individuals, you’re going to be surrounded with energy over the vacations.
Cookies, pastries, sweets, candies, appetizers . . . all whispering “come hither” of their candy and savory tones.
Top-of-the-line methods to withstand their siren music is to not be hungry, and among the finest methods to try this is to eat numerous protein.
Particularly, I like to recommend you eat as a lot protein as you need through the holidays. In reality, it’s typically a good suggestion to attempt to eat extra protein than you usually do so as to suppress urge for food and stop overeating (particularly between meals, for all the causes defined above).
Even in case you gobble meals like a front-end loader at meals, meals comas have a humorous method of clouding your judgement, and you could end up in search of out a sugary pick-me-up between meals.
Thus, along with high-protein entire meals like low-fat dairy, eggwhite, and lean meat, it’s additionally useful to have some extra dessert-like protein choices reminiscent of Whey+, Casein+, Plant+, or Legion Protein Bars.
Not solely will these dietary supplements assist you hit your protein objective for the day, they’ll assist tame your candy tooth and scale back the temptation to bask in high-calorie snacks.
Abstract: Eat as a lot protein as you need throughout holidays, and use protein powder and bars to fulfill your cravings between meals.
Many fitness gurus and “specialists” like to pooh-pooh train in the case of losing a few pounds or avoiding vacation weight acquire.
Their argument is straightforward: the measly variety of energy you burn throughout train isn’t almost sufficient to offset the inflow of energy over the vacations, so that you may as effectively not even hassle.
That is wrongheaded for a number of causes.
Though train naysayers love to carry up studies like this one as proof for the futility of understanding, they don’t point out how a lot and how much train the contributors had been doing.
On this study, scientists at Texas Tech College measured the train habits, weight, and body fat percentage of 148 obese women and men from mid-November to early January. They discovered that the contributors that exercised gained simply as a lot weight as those that didn’t and concluded that “train didn’t shield towards vacation weight acquire.”
Right here’s the catch: the “exercisers” on this research did about 30 to 40 minutes of sunshine to average bodily exercise per day—sufficient to burn round 150 to 300 energy. Are we actually shocked this didn’t make a dent of their vacation weight acquire?
After all, in case you’re bodily match and luxuriate in train, you can burn two to a few instances extra energy than this in a rigorous weightlifting or cardio exercise, which is sufficient to scale back fats acquire over the course of the vacations.
You don’t even must do formal train to burn numerous energy. Merely staying bodily energetic by strolling every time attainable, taking the steps as an alternative of the escalator, doing chores, and even chopping your individual firewood as an alternative of shopping for it pre-cut can burn hundreds of energy over the course of the vacation season.
The second motive to train is solely to remain within the behavior of doing so.
As you now know, you’re most likely going to achieve a bit weight over the vacations, however this isn’t a giant deal so long as you possibly can lose it afterward. A mixture of train and average calorie restriction is the easiest way to do that, nevertheless it’s going to be tougher to get again into the behavior of exercising in case you give it up through the holidays.
Third, it’s essential to keep in mind that train—formal or casual—will also be a enjoyable option to spend time with family and friends.
You possibly can go on long walks or hikes, wage snowball warfare, go sledding, or do any variety of different enjoyable bodily actions. Not solely can these actions burn a good variety of energy, in addition they assist take your thoughts of meals (see level #2 above).
Abstract: Exercising through the holidays can burn hundreds of energy and assist restrict fats acquire, will assist you keep within the behavior of exercising, and generally is a enjoyable option to spend time with family and friends and take your thoughts off meals.
It’s not all the time attainable—or socially acceptable—to carry meals to a celebration, however when you possibly can, it’s a straightforward option to give your self (and your hosts) a more healthy various to what’s accessible.
So, in case you’re nervous you “gained’t be capable of eat something” at a celebration, and it’s applicable and sensible, carry a dish or two which can be decrease in energy and better in fiber and/or protein. And in case you really feel awkward being “that man/gal” who brings wholesome meals to the occasion, keep in mind that you most likely aren’t the one one who’s craving more healthy fare.
Listed here are some straightforward, wholesome dishes you may make that may match the invoice:
Abstract: In case you’re nervous you “gained’t have something to eat” at a celebration, carry some wholesome dishes which can be decrease in energy and are larger in protein and fiber.
Even in case you comply with the earlier seven steps, you’ll nonetheless most likely acquire some weight, and a few of it can most likely be fats.
And that’s effective.
As you discovered to start with of this text, the explanation most individuals by no means lose the burden they acquire through the vacation season is their common, non-holiday diets aren’t that a lot better. They nonetheless eat too many energy and train too little.
Let’s say you actually go hog wild over the vacations and acquire three kilos of fats. If you recognize what you’re doing within the kitchen and health club, you possibly can simply shed this in two to a few weeks of correct weight-reduction plan and coaching.
And it will get higher: losing a few pounds doesn’t require you to starve yourself, detox your body, cut out carbs, sugar, meat, or plants, chug meal replacement shakes, or resort to another excessive or unique dietary measures.
All you must do is eat the correct variety of energy and adequate protein on daily basis, and also you’ll reduce weight. It’s that easy.
And the simplest method to do that is to create a meal plan and keep on with it.
A great meal plan is sort of a GPS gadget in your weight loss plan—it takes all of the guesswork out of what, how a lot, and when it is best to eat. All you must do is comply with the plan, and watch your physique change.
If you wish to know extra about correct meal planning, try these articles:
Or, in case you don’t wish to go to the trouble of creating a meal plan by yourself, we’d like to make you one. Simply sign up for our custom meal plan service and we’ll create a unique meal plan made up of your favourite meals.
Abstract: You’re most likely going to achieve a bit little bit of weight over the vacations it doesn’t matter what, however you possibly can simply lose it by creating and following a meal plan for a number of weeks.
You’ve most likely heard that ingesting alcohol whereas overeating is especially fattening, and whereas there’s a kernel of fact to this, it’s not as huge of a deal as many individuals make it out to be.
You possibly can study all concerning the precise impact of alcohol on fats acquire in this article, however the lengthy story brief is that this:
In case you drink alcohol whereas overeating, particularly whereas consuming numerous fats, you’ll most likely gain a bit extra physique fats than you’ll in case you didn’t drink any alcohol.
That stated, having one or two (or three) drinks a number of instances all through the vacations isn’t going to trigger sufficient fats acquire so that you can discover.
If in case you have a handful of drinks all through the vacations (say, a complete of 5), you most likely gained’t acquire a lick of further physique fats.
Even in case you push the higher finish of “average ingesting,” and have two drinks on daily basis, you may acquire 10 to twenty% extra physique fats than you’ll in case you’d drank much less. For instance, in case you eat sufficient to achieve 1 pound of fats over the vacations, including two drinks per day may make you acquire 1.1 to 1.2 kilos of fats—hardly an quantity value worrying about.
Studies additionally show that ingesting moderately is definitely related to decrease physique weight, not larger. Whereas the mechanisms behind this aren’t totally understood, it might be resulting from alcohol’s optimistic impact on insulin sensitivity, or as a result of average ingesting can blunt your urge for food.
The key phrase right here being, “moderation,” which tends to be briefly provide through the holidays.
Though average ingesting isn’t a giant deal, repeated binge ingesting is.
Not solely can this contribute to fats acquire straight, drunkenness typically prompts individuals to overeat much more aggressively, resulting in much more fats acquire.
If you wish to take pleasure in a number of drinks right here and there all through the vacations, you don’t have to fret about gaining extra physique fats. Simply don’t bend the elbow excessively.
Abstract: Reasonable ingesting isn’t going to trigger sufficient fats acquire to have an effect on your well being or look, however extreme ingesting can.
Vacation weight acquire isn’t that huge of a deal.
What’s extra, you possibly can largely keep away from this weight acquire within the first place in case you comply with the information on this article:
- Count on to achieve some weight (and lose it once more shortly).
- Deal with issues aside from meals.
- Create a calorie buffer earlier than huge meals.
- Eat huge meals, restrict snacking.
- Eat numerous protein all through the vacations, particularly on “feast” days.
- Keep energetic.
- Deliver some healthy-ish meals to events.
- In case you do acquire some fats, comply with a meal plan to lose it.
And if you wish to drink alcohol over the vacations, simply do it moderately (normally outlined as 1 to 2 drinks per day), and also you gained’t have to fret about any extra fats acquire.
Now, go forth and slam some meals.
What’s your tackle vacation weight acquire? Have the rest to share? Let me know within the feedback beneath!
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