If you've made the effort to lose weight for the holidays, you may have a rough road ahead.
Researchers at Columbia University believe now that if you're trying to keep off the pounds you've already lost, your body may be wired to work against you. That's because the body interprets reductions in weight as a deficiency in the hormone leptin. So it immediately works to try to build that back up again, by triggering the hormones that hoard fat. The timing of holiday buffets makes it especially hard right now to fight this innate effort to bring back lost weight.
"People really have to be cautious around the holiday times in terms of smaller portions and cutting back on the alcohol and drinking diet type of beverages, that sort of thing so they don't gain those calories," says Robert Dimeff, M.D. at Sports Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Dimeff says the Columbia study explains why 85% of people who've lost weight turn around and gain back those pounds. Meanwhile, nutrition experts say that little tricks like drinking a few glasses of water, or eating a healthy snack like a piece of fruit before you hit the holiday food table, really can help you feel full faster so it's easier to push away from the table.