Are your efforts to lose weight during the year being thwarted by weight gained during the holiday season?
Obesity in adults is generally attributed to a small prolonged increase in energy intake and a decrease in energy expenditure that results in a gradual year-to-year weight gain. But now some researchers are pointing to the holiday season as one of the main culprits of annual weight gain.
The researchers, who published their findings in The New England Journal of Medicine, compiled data from close to 3,000 participants from three different countries including Japan, Germany, and the United States (1).
They meticulously recorded daily weight change and dietary intake for 12 months. In all three countries, the participants’ weight increased within 10 days after Christmas Day compared with 10 days before Christmas Day—they recorded weight increases of 0.4 percent in the United States, 0.6 percent in Germany, and 0.5 percent in Japan.
The researchers also recorded significant weight gain during other major holidays in each country, which leveled out during the rest of the year. On average the participants gained more than two pounds at the end of the year.
While two pounds may seem trivial, it contributes to accumulated weight gain repeated annually.
It’s no surprise that the holidays are a time of overconsumption. The season is rife with longer eating durations, easy access to food, eating in the presence of others, and the most problematic−increased portion sizes (2-4).
In the U.S., the holiday season tends to last around six weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. The weight gain during this relatively brief time period ranges from 2-5 pounds and is often not reversed during the spring or summer (6).
Given the statistics, it is clear that holiday overeating is a key target for weight management. In fact, focusing on keeping weight off during the holiday season in particular may be the best way to stop long-term weight gain.
Prevailing advice revolves around losing the weight in the time following the holidays, but it doesn’t always work. When the damage is done, even those of a normal weight who have a weight-control plan have difficulty “recovering” from the holidays (6, 8). A more proactive approach is to have a plan to avoid gaining the weight in the first place.
Here’s where an Isagenix 30-Day System offers an advantage. Isagenix offers the convenience of a scientifically validated system that can help not just with losing weight, but also keeping it off long term (9). By taking a proactive approach with Isagenix during the holidays, annual weight gain can be more easily avoided.
- Helander EE, Wansink B & Chieh A. Weight Gain over the Holidays in Three Countries. N Engl J Med. 2016 Sep 22; 375(12):1200-2.
- Wansink B. Environmental factors that increase the food intake and consumption volume of unknowing consumers. Annu Rev Nutr. 2004; 24:455-79.
- De Castro JM. Social facilitation of food intake in humans. Appetite. 1995 Jun; 24(3):260.
- Rolls BJ, Morris EL & Roe LS. Portion size of food affects energy intake in normal-weight and overweight men and women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Dec; 76(6):1207-13.
- Roberts SB & Mayer J. Holiday weight gain: fact or fiction? Nutr Rev. 2000 Dec; 58(12):378-9.
- Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O’Neil PM & Sebring NG. A prospective study of holiday weight gain. N Engl J Med. 2000 Mar 23; 342(12):861-7.
- Cook CM, Subar AF, Troiano RP & Schoeller DA. Relation between holiday weight gain and total energy expenditure among 40- to 69-y-old men and women (OPEN study). Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Mar; 95(3):726-31.
- Phelan S, Wing RR, Raynor HA, Dibello J, Nedeau K & Peng W. Holiday weight management by successful weight losers and normal weight individuals. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Jun; 76(3):442-8.
- Arciero PJ, Edmonds R, He F, Ward E, Gumpricht E, Mohr A, Ormsbee MJ & Astrup A. Protein-Pacing Caloric-Restriction Enhances Body Composition Similarly in Obese Men and Women during Weight Loss and Sustains Efficacy during Long-Term Weight Maintenance. Nutrients. 2016 Jul 30; 8(8).