Holiday binging looms but most don't care about added weight
Bathroom scales and belt notches to be ignored
Two-thirds of Canadians expect to gain between one and nine pounds this holiday season — but just 37 per cent are actually concerned about adding width to their waistlines.
It's a surprising finding at a time when so many people live and die by the number on the scale. But it seems indulging at Christmas has become so normalized, it trumps even our most powerful conventions about body image.
"Is it worth it? Of course! No belt notch comes close to my co-worker's homemade shortbread, eating an entire chocolate orange in one sitting, and pouring extra gravy over my food for three straight dinners."
Pasricha, whose elfin appearance belies his taste for treats, confesses that he's been known to eat an entire Advent calendar's worth of chocolate at once. The Toronto man names the ritual alongside eggnog-swilling, candy-devouring, and eating cookies fresh from the oven as one of the most "awesome" parts of the holiday season.
And he's hardly alone in the stretchy-pants department.
This week, Molson Canadian 67 revealed the results of a nationwide survey of 1,000 adults - 500 men and 500 women - in which 66 per cent of people said they expected to gain between one and nine pounds this holiday season. But when asked if they were concerned about Christmas weight gain, just 37 per cent of Canadians said yes (and only 14.5 per cent were "very" concerned).
"It's a period of carnival, a period of experiencing a kind of licence . . . to balance out the restrictions we have in our lives," says Heather Evans, an adjunct professor specializing in food history at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.
The problem, however, is that periods of restraint are becoming fewer, and periods of feasting are becoming greater, with Evans noting that we now make excuses to indulge on holidays of every stripe throughout the year — religious or otherwise.
"With all of that piled on, people really do have reason to be concerned."
Statistics Canada reports that some $3.9 billion is spent on food and beverages at large retailers in December, representing an increase of nearly 20 per cent over the previous month. When the picture is narrowed to just candy, confection and snacks, sales still top $278 million.
Eggnog, meanwhile, is so popular as to see Canadians knock back nearly eight million litres in November and December. That's enough to fill 235 large tankers — and certainly to fuel a lot of guilt in the New Year.
"It's a phenomenon that happens every single year," says personal trainer Brent Bishop, owner of Think Fitness Studios in Toronto. "You can almost bank on the fact that when January hits, people will have all this regret."
The good news is that a study in the New England Journal of Medicine found the average person gains just one pound between U.S. Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, despite perceiving a weight accrual four times that amount. The bad news is that most people never lose that excess weight.
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