As we age, unwanted fat accumulates in our bodies at a slow and steady pace. However, when looking at weight gain patterns, this fat accumulation appears to occur over a relatively short, specific period of time — the winter holiday season (1). Of course, these intermittent periods of fat gain can compound over the years, resulting in significant weight gain.
The holiday season can equal weight gain for many
In the U.S., the winter holiday season tends to last around six weeks from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. The weight gain during this time ranges from 2-5 pounds and is often retained during the following spring and summer (2).
Indeed, researchers have proposed that the few extra pounds gained each year during the holiday season might be a significant factor in the pattern of gradual weight gain that most of us experience throughout our lives (3). For instance, data from a large, nationally representative health study shows that starting in our early 20s, many of us gain an average of 1-2 pounds each year. By the time we reach our 60s, we weigh about 40 pounds more than we did when we graduated high school (4).
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 socially in the presence of others, and the most problematic — increased portion sizes (5-7).
Given these statistics, holiday overeating is a prime target for weight management. In fact, focusing on keeping weight off during the holiday season may be the best way to prevent long-term weight gain.
Don’t play the never-ending catch-up game
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 who have a post-holiday weight control plan have difficulty “recovering” from the holidays (2, 8). In contrast, a more proactive approach would be to have a plan of action to avoid gaining the weight in the first place.
There are several dietary tips you can implement during the holiday season to minimize or prevent holiday weight gain. But the most powerful tool lies in consistently following a well-rounded nutritional plan.
In this regard, an Isagenix–based system provides several advantages. Isagenix offers the convenience of a scientifically validated system that can support your individual goals of not just preventing weight gain but also keeping weight 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.
- 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.
- Schoeller DA. The effect of holiday weight gain on body weight. Physiol Behav. 2014 Jul;134:66-9.
- Ogden CL, Fryar CD, Carroll MD, Flegal KM. Mean body weight, height, and body mass index, United States 1960-2002. Adv Data. 2004 Oct 27;(347):1-17.
- 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.
- 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):476.