Between summer bods and holiday eating sprees, it feels like there’s year-round pressure to lose pounds. The average American gains about 5 pounds over the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. So, if we want to avoid weight gain in the winter and look great in the summer, when should we begin a weight loss resolution during the year?
A new study used wireless scales from participants to measure weight patterns related to holiday weight gain. The research shows that the weight you gain in the 3 months this holiday season could take over 5 months to lose. So, if you want to be thin in the spring, and going into summer, start your plan in October.
“Everyone gains weight over the holidays” co-author Brian Wansink told Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab. Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, make an October resolution. It’s easier to avoid holiday pounds altogether than to lose them after they happen.
Researchers found that weight patterns begin rising around Thanksgiving and peak around Christmas and the New Year.
Weight Gain Around The World
Study participants in Germany weighed the most around Christmas and New Year’s. In Japan, people were most heavy in April during Golden Week, which is a major Japanese holiday.
Think you’ll put on some holiday weight in 2017? Chances are you won’t be able to lose it until Easter 2018. If that doesn’t motivate you to start reaching your weight loss goal now, nothing will.
Myth vs. Fact (Size)
MYTH: Most people gain a full size.
FACT: Bloating isn’t the same as fat weight
One of the reasons you may feel like you’ve packed on more weight than you have is because many holiday foods trigger bloating and water retention.
MYTH: Exercise staves off holiday pounds.
In a Texas Tech study, half of the subjects were inactive and the other half worked out roughly five hours a week. Both groups gained the same amount of weight. This isn’t the first study to show that avid exercise may not lead to weight control. However, we’re not suggesting that you should ditch your workouts. There are numerous benefits to working out that have nothing to do with weight. This includes lowering stress and improving sleep, just don’t count on it to cancel out your indulgences.
MYTH: I’ll lose it in January.
Gaining just a pound or two of fat may seem minuscule. Studies show that most of us never lose that holiday padding. After abandoning New Year’s resolutions, many people gain back all (or more) of the weight they lose. This “weight creep” is what leads to most Americans packing on about 10-20 pounds per decade.
FACT: It’s not too late to ward off some holiday poundage.
If that last myth left you feeling discouraged, don’t give up! There are countless success stories that fly in the face of average statistics. To defy the odds starting today, commit to just two simple goals between now and January 1st – “budget” your carbs, and drink more water.
Stay tuned for our 21 Tips to help you avoid weight gain through the holiday season
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