The media suggest that the average American usually gains around 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years, but according to the most reliable study to date published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in truth, it is less than one pound!
If your clothes feel tight and your face puffy it is more likely you are experiencing the holiday "bloat" which can tip the scales up to 5 pounds plus.
Holiday festivities include family potluck gatherings, neighborhood gift exchanges, Thanksgiving dinner, cookie swaps, Christmas and office parties, not to mention the celebratory New Years toast! All of these rich and processed foods that are being served usually mean more sodium - leading straight to water weight.
It’s important not to freak out and remind yourself that weight loss and weight gain are mathematical equations and in a few days it would be nearly impossible to consume enough extra calories for a real 5 pound gain. 1 lb = 3500 calories AND 5 lbs = 17,500 calories extra. Here are some strategies to help you de-bloat.
This shouldn't be very hard to do since you have overindulged and feel full. Bethenny Frankel, author of Naturally Thin, suggests whipping up a big pot of vegetable soup to slim down. Just throw some onions, broccoli and carrots, in a fat free chicken stock and puree to eat with brown rice.
2. Fill up with loads of de-bloating foods to tell your body to get rid of all that water. Some natural diuretics are watermelon, asparagus, oats, cucumber, ginger, pineapple, and yogurts containing probiotics ("good" bacteria) can help.
3. Eat fiber to help clear your colon of any undigested foods and air. Foods like bananas that are high in potassium have also been shown to beat bloat by causing your body to flush out the water.
4. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Sodium intake acts like a water retention magnet so you need to drink enough water to flush all of this from your system or your body will keep trying to save water reserves.
5. Sweat it out. Working out not only helps burn calories away but you can sweat out unwanted water swelling. Before supermodel Heidi Klum gets in front of the camera she de-bloats with an Epsom salt-rich bath. Magnesium sulphate in the salts draw out the fluids from your body.
6. Plenty of Zzzzz's. Sleeping raises growth hormones and reduces stress. Stress can increase cortisol levels in your body over time and cortisol inhibits sodium loss through the small intestines. Water will stay where the sodium is which often causes water retention. So focus on getting to bed early and letting your metabolism get in check to help your body recover!
Shelley GoodStein is a FORD model who speaks to women through television, national articles and public forums about a model's secrets to looking good from the inside out and the beauty of aging! She is the author of Face This: Advice From Real Models, Photographers and Make Up Artists on How to Become Picture Perfect!