The Truth Behind Holiday Weight GainWeight Loss over the holidays« click for printable PDF version

For many of us, the period from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day is often a continuous parade of holiday parties, family dinners, and social hours.

Even if you can keep your weight on target for the rest of the year, by the time we get through the holidays, we're left talking about the "Christmas 5" or the "Holiday 7" and again wondering what weight loss program to start with in January.

The year-end holiday season is definitely where most of us struggle with weight management. But even worse news is that weight gained during this time tends to stick with us, so that even slight gains of the season add up.

The most-quoted research in this area was completed by the doctors at the National Institutes of Health. In that study, 195 people were tracked in detail before and after the holiday period, with further weight tracking at intervals up to one year later.

That study shows that the "average" weight gain of all study participants over the 6-week holiday period was just less than 1 pound.

That sounds good, but digging a bit deeper, the study shows that those who were already overweight posted bigger weight gains. In fact, almost 10% of the study participants recorded a whopping 5 pounds or more gained over the 6-week holiday season!

Comparing these seasonal weight gains with weight measurements made one year later highlighted a good news / bad news story.

The bad news was that any weight gained over the 6-week holiday period tended to stick around for the whole year and form the basis for new weight gains in the next year. Despite the average weight gain of just 0.8 lbs during the holidays, that average gain increased to 1.4 lbs by the time the holidays rolled around again the next year.

As bad as it sounds, there is good news in this data - it shows that most of our weight gain for the entire year is packed on in the 6 weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's. This means that if we can avoid the problem of holiday weight gain, then we have eliminated most of the weight gain problem - all in one fell swoop!

But eliminating the holiday weight gain - even if it is just over a 6-week period - is no small feat.

The most typical advice given is just that - advice: someone else telling you what to do and what not to do. The big tips that come around as advice pretty much every year include:

    - Watch your serving sizes

    - Avoid sugary or fatty snacks

    - Alcohol calories count too

    - Don't forget to exercise

    - Etc., etc.

All of it is just advice - do this, don't do that.

However, another group of scientists have found that relaxation therapy with embedded messaging for the reinforcement of healthy eating has been highly effective.

Randy Clusiau agrees. He recently lost 170 lbs just by using this type of relaxation therapy.

We agree too, and recommend that you check it out for yourself. Read more about Success Therapies by clicking here

If you are not yet on the WeightWorks program and want to learn more about how we can help, please complete our online get-acquainted questionnaire. Enter the coupon code "ARTICLE50" and we will take 50% off the cost of an initial doctor consultation to review your situation, make suggestions and answer any questions you may have.

Click here to go to the questionnaire.

Your naturally-thin self is there, waiting to come out - but don't tell your friends!

   - - Yours in health,   The Doctors of WeightWorks

        Back to All Articles