Daily self-weighing can help prevent holiday and vacation weight gain, suggests study
(Natural News) With the holidays approaching, weight-watchers everywhere should know that there is an easy way to prevent unwanted weight gain. You only need to step on your bathroom scale and check your weight every day.
A team of researchers from the University of Georgia (UG)found that daily self-weighing can help a person either maintain healthy weight or prevent putting on extra pounds. The study, which was published in Obesity, offered some interesting insights on weight gain during the holidays or a vacation.
It’s hard when there’s so much food
The holidays are a festive time of the year. There are gifts, decorations and lots of food. This is a critical time for weight-watchers. Despite the earnest desire to stay in shape, it is difficult when everyone else is partying and gorging on holiday treats.
However, whatever weight gained stays even after the holidays. Studies have shown that a person gains an average of 0.4 to 1.5 kg during the festive times of the year, namely November to January. Moreover, the unwanted pounds contribute to the person’s overall weight gain for the year.
Gaining too much weight can lead to several health problems. According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, around 93.3 million American adults are obese. Obesity is considered an epidemic and has been linked to many health conditions like heart disease, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.
The UG researchers wanted to determine if weighing yourself on scales every day can help fend off the holiday pounds.
Their study involved 111 participants aged between 18 and 65. They were randomly assigned into two groups: a control group, which celebrated the holidays as usual; and an intervention group that was tasked to measure their weight every day. The participants in the intervention group were also told to try and avoid putting on pounds above their baseline weight. Aside from that instruction, the researchers did not give pointers on losing weight. They wanted the participants to decide how they would adjust their behavior to meet their goals.
The study began from mid-November until early January, which covered three holidays: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The researchers recorded the participants’ weights three times: before Thanksgiving, after New Year’s Day, and 14 weeks after that.
Their findings revealed that participants who weighed themselves daily successfully maintained their baseline weight. Furthermore, those who were overweight even managed to shed some pounds. The control group, on the other hand, gained a few pounds. Moreover, researchers found that 57 percent of the holiday weight gain remained after the holidays.
Researchers suggest that the visual reminder of physical weight increase helps people stick to their goals. Thus, they adjust their behaviors the next time they eat.
“Vacations and holidays are probably the two times of year people are most susceptible to weight gain in a very short period of time,” Jamie Cooper, the paper’s second author, concluded. “The holidays can have a big impact on someone’s long-term health.”
Tips to resist holiday food temptation
- Try to incorporate physical activities in the party schedule, like games or a family walk.
- Use a smaller plate or container to control your portion sizes and avoid overeating.
- Avoid taste-testing, whether it is your cooking or someone else’s.
- People who do not sleep enough tend to feel hungrier, so make sure to get plenty of sleep.
- If the food is laid buffet-style, limit yourself to just one plate.
- Avoid drinking sweetened beverages. They are packed with artificial sugar with no nutritional value.
- If you are cooking, modify your recipes to use low-calorie ingredients.
- Find a fellow weight-watcher and keep a lookout on each other’s consumption.