Holiday Weight Gain: Fact or Fiction?

January 4, 2011   15 Comments

Are your pants feeling a wee bit snug right now? Are you wishing you had quit drinking your mother's rum egg nog at just one glass?

Holiday Weight Gain: Fact or Fiction?

Well, join the club. I just went and stood on my scale. I am THREE pounds heavier then I was in October. Which is a surprise because I thought I had gained about 5 pounds.

But, what did I expect? That all the cookies, cheese, potatoes, wine, bread, chocolate, and egg nog was going to just stay off me like my summer diet of watermelon, tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and peaches?


Honestly, I can't look a salad in the eye right now. I live in a place where it is 18 degrees Fahrenheit outside and I just want to snuggle up to a side of beef.

What about you? Did you put on a few? In an excellent study in the New England Journal of Medicine called, "A Prospective Study of Holiday Weight Gain" by Yanovski, et. al. (2000), they measured 195 adults to see if they gained weight over the holidays as opposed to any other time of year.

Turns out the participants gained on average 0.8 pounds over the holiday season, but they THOUGHT they had gained four times as much. Have you gotten on your scale today?

Actually, most of the participants gained weight all year round and the ones that did gain the most weight over the holidays were most likely already overweight or obese.

According to this study, it is FACT that you gain weight over the holidays (more so if you are already overweight) and it is FACT that you gain weight all year round.

Which leads me to to my favorite tweet of the holiday season:

Don't worry about what u eat btw Christmas & New Year, worry about what eat btw New Year & Christmas

Thank you, @Its5oclocksmwhr!! Clearly, SHE doesn't need the New England Journal of Medicine.

My suggestion is to stop feeling sorry for yourself (yes, I am taking my own advice) and take responsibility for your diet.

Healthy eating is an all year project and a couple weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years isn't really the problem.

Move on, go back to the gym, and try to still be there in June when it is empty of all the people who showed up in January.

Please share your thoughts about holiday weight gain.

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Thanks for this super post. I will get on the scale by the end of the week.

Thanks for the post - I usually eat a mostly raw vegan diet, but from Oct-Jan I end up stuffing myself with 12 kinds of cookies, brownies, stuffing, green bean casserole, soda, loads of wine and champagne, etc etc etc. I've gained at least 6 pounds since October and have been feeling like total crapola. It's such a relief when the holidays are over and I can stop eating! Lol... Seriously though, I seem to be able to pull it together once the new year is here and I feel like I get a "fresh start." Been back on my healthy diet since yesterday and not having too much trouble so far.

Oh yes, I've also gained 3 pounds over the holiday. And that 3 pounds all rested into my newly formed 'muffin top' Boot I come!

I lost weight between Thanksgiving and New Years but that was because I've been really focused onlosing weight since last February. I still enjoyed seasonal treats but I was much more circumspect than I used to be. I love the tweet though - it is sooo so very true!

Help! Any suggestions? I need some foodie ideas to get me started ~ luv to lose about 10 lbs. thank you! :)

@Becky - not that I need to blow my own horn - but why don't you start with healthy snacking? It is amazing to me how many calories can be avoided by planning and eating a healthy snack. Good luck!

I actually lost 5 lbs between Thanksgiving and New year's but I was super-conscious of what I ate and totally stopped "tasting" as I cooked. (I'm REALLY bad about that!) I lost 30 lbs in 2010, and hope to lose another 30 in 2011. Your snack ideas have helped a lot, Snack Girl! Thanks!

I usually gain a good 5 pounds during the holidays each year but this year I shockingly managed to lose 2.5 lbs. I stuck to working out 3 times a week, and gave up eating rice or pasta. I did enjoy a few of the cookies and cake and pie but didn't go overboard. Plus I have accountability partners that check on me time to time. If you need an accountability partner, feel free to contact me :) happy new year everyone!

Ooh that IS a good tweetquote!

I gained a couple pounds - so now I'm back to counting calories and avoiding most sweets.

Good job to the people that managed to lose weight through the holidays! Wow. I gained about 5 pounds. I'm working on getting back down. I'd like to lose 10 in the near future. But I know that is easier said than done. I did bring a nice juicy grapefruit as my snack today though so hoping I can get the 4 or 5 pounds off that I've gained ASAP. Man, I like egg nog WAY too much;-)

i loved one of the recent stories in O magazine about weight loss -- the one big, critical tip: it's all about exercise. the article is quite good and contains some excellent and specific information as well as some key questions that will help set fitness goals. i did a little overview of the article on my blog: if you don't want to buy the magazine. (i couldn't find the article online.) my holiday strategy was to keep the exercise plan well in place and to counterbalance the indulgences with good workouts. i also love the tweet and the idea that is really about every day, all year, not the holidays.

It's not so much on the scale that I see the difference but in the fit of the pants. Also 3 pounds for me but I have a 24 inch waist now. OH MY GOD!!! How did I gain an inch in my waist and 1/2 an inch in the hips in a MONTH???

Also the sugar made me feel gross... back to nutrition!

I just want to snuggle up to a side of beef.

I did just that last night when my husband made beef and barley stew. :)

Running, jogging, clyicng, swimming, dancing, push ups, sit ups, squats, brisk walking and power walking all help for weight loss but dieting helps more.One of the healthiest weight loss diets is the DASH diet.The healthy DASH diet can help you lose weight safely and effectively, lower your cholesterol and lower your blood pressure.It is based on an eating plan rich in fruits and vegetables, and low-fat or non-fat dairy, with whole grains. It is a high fiber, low to moderate fat diet, and is rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium.You can see further details in a web search for dash diet + lose weight .

I have never tried the pill but my sister and my aunt did and they lokeod like they started loosing it at first and then they bloated BAAADDD my sister started helping with football team and now plays in another sport and lost the weight because she didnt have it there for too long but my aunt looks like she exploded what i can recommend is eat soups before any other meal they really help you get fuller and dont have too much fat in them also stop eating anything except for water or unsweetened tea after 6 pm..and before 7 am or what ever time you wake up tried it has worked =))

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