A majority of Canadians assume they'll gain up to nine pounds this holiday season, but the reality is that weight gain happens year round, not just during the short days and long nights of the Yuletide.
In promotion of a low-calorie beer, Canadian brewer Molson released the results of a nationwide survey of 500 men and 500 women. Two-thirds said they expected to gain between one and nine pounds during the holidays.
Vancouver registered dietitian Jessica Begg said typical weight gain at this time of year trends toward the lower end of the scale. "It's not that much," said Begg, who operates Flourish Wellness and Nutrition. "It's around one pound, on average. The people who are struggling are struggling all year long."
Although two-thirds of adults polled by Molson said they expected to gain between one and nine pounds during the holidays, one third said they were concerned about packing on pounds through the rest of the year. Fifteen per cent said they were "very" concerned.
The health stats are also concerning. One in four Canadian adults is obese, according to a 2011 report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Adult participation in sports has declined from 45 per cent two decades ago to less 28 per cent more recently. Inactivity is identified as the greatest culprit for obesity, especially in women.
A certain amount of alarm precedes the season of shortbread cookies, eggnog and rum after hours, deep-fried canapés and second servings of them all.
Much of the trepidation is over-blown. By maintaining healthy habits and committing to moderation, said Begg, most Canadians should feel encouraged to enjoy themselves and even indulge-moderately-at this time of year.
Begg suggests Canadians look at the bigger picture. "If they're on the right tack through the year, usually Christmas time and the holidays don't really throw people off all that much. It's not the holidays that are doing it, but maybe come January 1 when they weigh themselves and think, 'I've gained,' they think it's because of the holidays but it may have been happening all year."
Imagine these coming weeks as a cruise-a caroling, merrymaking, in-law loving boat trip that's nearly as secular as Christmas. Beware the all-you-can-eat buffet. The pounds won't be lost at sea but will accompany you back on land. Strive for balance. If you serve yourself a second helping, add more Brussels sprouts. Turkey dinner can be a well-balanced meal, after all.
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