Holiday Weight Gain: Fact or fiction?

How about the good news first…

Reports of holiday weight gain have been greatly exaggerated. The perception is that we really pack on the pounds at holiday time. The reality (according to the National Institutes of Health) is a typical weight gain of between 0.4 and 1.8 pounds— just about one pound on average. Despite six weeks of free-flowing eggnog from Thanksgiving through New Years, the typical weight gain is surprisingly small— except for the already-overweight who tend to add something like five pounds during the holidays.

And the bad news…

It may be a mere pound, but the weight adds up.
Most people don’t ever lose that extra holiday pound.

Our weight is on an upward creep through the adult years. On the march toward the middle-age spread, and the health complications that accompany it like diabetes and heart disease, we tend to accumulate about 2 pounds each year. About half of that weight gain can be traced to seasonal overindulgence.

January’s menu of cottage cheese and rice cakes.
40% of all New Years resolutions relate to diet and weight loss. We take alcohol and red meat off the menu and sign up for gym memberships. Unfortunately, research shows that our resolve is not so strong: six out of ten will fall off the wagon by January 6th.

And then there are unexpected side effects to holiday weight gain:
Too many treats and too little exercise? You’re not the only one. Read: Pet Parade: Holiday weight gain affects pets too.
Fat and alone? In the early days of 2010, BeautifulPeople.com, apparently a dating site for the thin and superficial, canceled thousands of memberships on the basis of profile photos showing evidence of holiday overindulgence. In the words of the site’s founder, Robert Hintze, “Letting fatties roam the site is a direct threat to our business model and the very concept for which BeautifulPeople.com was founded.” You can read about it in Dating Site Expels 5,000 “Fatties” Over Holiday Weight Gain. Feel free to make a New Years resolution to send nasty email messages to Mr. Hintze.


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One Response to Holiday Weight Gain: Fact or fiction?

  1. Monet says:

    I have actually been trying to gain weight over these past few months…so I hope that it turns out to be fact for me! I know that I usually stay so busy cooking and shopping that I burn a lot of calories during the month of December. I hope you have a great afternoon. Stay warm and safe!

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