Q: I overeat and gain weight over the holidays, then I can’t get it off. What do you suggest?
A: For many, the Christmas season is, as the song goes, “the most wonderful time of the year.” For others, not so much. It may be for them the loneliest time with loved ones missing, home circles shrinking, and the dread of going to holiday parties and New Year’s Eve celebrations without a partner. Many end up staying home alone to lament their sorrows.
In the United States the season bracketed by Thanksgiving at one end and New Year’s at the other poses a significant threat to waistlines as well as emotions, as many enjoy the goodies and the festivities or eat emotionally, only to end up fighting the “gaining” battle. (Even though different countries celebrate different holidays, all those studied show holiday weight gain that takes about five months to lose.*) The common factor: people’s increased intake of their favorite festive foods combined with less outdoor physical activity, especially if outside temperatures are very cold.
Having a well-thought-out plan and sticking to it is a basic formula for success. But that is often easier said than done. The power to do anything good comes from God. So if you don’t already have special daily prayer and devotional times, that’s the place to start. God will work with you in every situation. Your prayers of thanksgiving before eating may be enhanced by asking for power to choose wisely and not be overcome by the tempting items before you.
We don’t know whether you’re a festive or an emotional eater, but we pray these words will bring you hope and help for the holidays and beyond. If you feel depressed around the holidays, you may need to seek professional help. Don’t overlook this important detail.
May this holiday season be for you a “wonderful time of the year,” and may the Spirit of Christ accompany you all year long.
* New England Medical Journal, 2016; 375:1200-1202.
Peter N. Landless, a board-certified nuclear cardiologist, is director of the General Conference Health Ministries Department. Zeno L. Charles-Marcel, a board-certified internist, is an associate director of Adventist Health Ministries at the General Conference.