Take to the Scale these Holidays...HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EAT IT TOO?
Posted on December 20 2019
Let’s face it, most of us love the holidays, but the parties, big family meals, and other get-togethers spell the potential for weight gain. Studies have linked the holiday season with weight gain up to 3.5 pounds, on average. That doesn’t seem like too much, but unless the upward trend is reversed after the holidays, even small amounts of weight gain can lead to creeping obesity over time.
Surely, you should enjoy the holiday spirit, complete with the splurges you may desire, but if you literally want to have your cake and eat it too—and not gain weight—there’s a simple behavioral modification technique that might help, as a study in Obesity, the Journal of the Obesity Society, recently reported: Weigh yourself every morning.
Research at the University of Georgia looked at self-weighing specifically over the holiday period beginning the week before Thanksgiving and ending New Year’s Day, with a follow up 14 weeks later. The researchers determined that in a group of 111 adults who weighed themselves daily using identical types of devices for weight measuring and reporting vs. a control group that did not, the control group gained 6 to 7 pounds, on average, over the holidays (more than previous studies have found). Though they lost much of that over the next 14 weeks, their end weight was still 2 pounds higher, on average, than at the start. In contrast, the self-weighing group had no overall weight change at the end of the holiday period or at follow up.
The researchers felt that, according to the social cognitive theory of self-regulation, getting immediate feedback (in this case of weight fluctuations) can motivate future behavior (to eat less that day).
Caveat: Because participants knew their scale readings were being seen by the researchers, it’s not known if the outcome would be the same in real life. Daily weigh-ins might work best over short periods and if the results are shared with someone. Over longer periods, Weight Watchers does not recommend daily weigh-ins becauseIf you're easily discouraged, daily weighing might cause you to give up your attempts if you don't see rapid progress. They suggest, for the long term, weigh yourself weekly or less. Still, weighing yourself every day during the holidays and reporting the results to someone might be worth a try. It couldn’t hurt!
Have an enjoyable holiday season.