You effort the entire year to remain sleek and slim, minding your diet, but what invariably happens, is there’s weight gain once the Christmas holidays are over. You adamantly shake your head, convinced it won’t happen to you this year. That you’ll remain disciplined, and won’t get consumed by the celebrations that are the holidays.
But what the stats show is that almost everyone gains weight during this time of year, this for a variety of biological and environmental reasons. For those living in the Northern Hemisphere, the holidays occur during the snowy cold winter season, where physical activity decreases.
What this inactivity is combined with is an increase in caloric intake, and these calories are usually saturated fats loaded with sugar. The natural instinct, is to also eat larger meals to chase away the blues.
An Increased Intake Of Food
You can blame this on the naturally occurring seasonal biological changes, which causes the increase in calories.
Some of the “feel good” brain chemicals produced during the summer decreases during the winter, notably serotonin. Once one becomes grumpy, sweets is the answer.
Once this valuable chemical serotonin becomes depleted, the chain effect is the craving for carbohydrates, this when one is feeling down.
This is an autonomic reaction, because the body instinctively knows what the increase of carbohydrate consumption means, and that’s increased serotonin release.
This especially for females, when there’s an increased hunger for carbohydrates, this when sad or during PMS, once the serotonin levels become depleted.
During the colder winter months, what’s increased is food intake to feel better, which compensates for the decrease of these feel good brain chemicals.
The Festivities Overwhelms
Then we get swallowed by the suction that are the holidays, as they approach quick and we get distracted, as we lose our senses, as “tis the season.” This gives us valid reason to celebrate.
We get tempted by all the scrumptious food at the Christmas parties. We find ourselves dipping into the eggnog, a bowl of that delicious ice cream, as we surrender. All this to escape the doldrums, gleefully inviting the nights filled with laughter.
What also decreases is exposure to daylight as the days grow shorter, there’s less sunlight, all which results in biological changes.
Most are determined to avoid the winter blues, the feeling of being stranded at home, so the outlet becomes choosing to be surrounded by food they normally wouldn’t eat. This a recipe for weight gain disaster.
The Association To Specific Foods
Once getting consumed by the holidays, most don’t think of making kale smoothies. What’s conditioned in our minds instead, are all the traditional Christmas favorites, which are habitual like a ritual, embedded in our subconscious.
What’s activated are all the well-established food associations, such as cakes and cookies, chocolate, and spiked rum. All foods which are associated with high sugar and high fat, but who cares, lets be jolly.
Then there’s the multiple holiday parties, the party at work, all which includes plenty of appetizers and sinful food. All this leading up to the “big” day with turkey and all the trimmings, which turns into New Year’s Eve.
The momentum carries itself, as one loses their sense of time, as the mind escapes the winter doldrums into festive fun.
The Compounding Stress
What’s all wedged into this, is that it’s also the shopping season, where you need to buy presents for others, while taking advantage of the sales yourself.
What this compounds into is financial costs leading to stress. What all this stress and anxiety leads to, is another glass of wine.
What experiencing stress by itself leads to, is weight gain on the stomach known as belly fat, which we fail to notice. This goes on the back burner, as what the holidays does is makes us happy.
It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
There’s another chemical that’s activated by the brain during the holidays, one that’s a socially induced one, oxytocin. This chemical causes us to become a lot more social in our surroundings.
For most, it’s the one time of the year when we see all our closest friends, families, and relatives, and that’s over the holidays. What we all feel, is the intrinsic need to affiliate with and crave social interaction.
All of these happy encounters are realized and promoted by oxytocin, which is responsible for giving us the motivation to socialize with others. To celebrate, to make small talk, laugh at all the jokes, while enjoying plenty of food.
So it may possibly be out of our control that we gain weight during this time, as what our social and biological instincts does is takes over, and overwhelms us.
What we’ll then do is allow ourselves to give in, to surrender, as we give ourselves permission to eat more, and not feel guilty about it.
Never Start A Diet During The Holidays
What the majority of diets does is depletes the brain of essential amino acids that’s required to manufacture serotonin, which as a result causes moodiness and irritability.
So there’s no point making it harder on yourself during this time of year, when your biology is already forcing you to become vulnerable.
So don’t miss out on any of the fun celebrations and festivities, to feel the need to decline holiday invitations, or spoil the spirit of others, this because your diet is making you feel irritable, forcing you to have difficulty accommodating.
Just relax, have fun, while keeping a conscientious mindful awareness of what you’re doing at all times. This is a happy festive time to spend with loved ones, so enjoy yourself by participating, this without feeling guilt, or experiencing stress and anxiety. Cheers.