Americans typically gain a pound between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. That may not sound like much to worry about, but the problem is that we don't lose that pound once the holiday season ends. Instead, we accumulate a pound per season, year after year, for 10, 15, 20 years and more. Looked at that way, it's no wonder that two-thirds of Americans are now obese.
So all we have to do, rather than gaining that pound, is lose a pound during the holidays -- or just stay even. It's only six weeks, so let's show some discipline and skip the gravy, plum pudding and eggnog. It seems simple enough, but alas it's not, as any dieter will tell you. Showing restraint during the holidays is so much harder than it is normally, even with the best intentions.
Some intriguing new evidence from the University of Chicago suggests that dieters may be fundamentally different in their response to temptation -- in a way that actually increases risk of gaining weight during the holidays. The abundance of sweet and savory sights and aromas may trigger a pleasurable response that doesn't abate in the normal way, persisting through time and sabotaging self-discipline.