Worried about packing on the pounds with all the feasting, parties and delicious gifts of the holiday season? I’ve got some good news for you then: science says holiday weight gain isn’t nearly as big a deal as you think it is.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t indulge a little over the Christmas holidays, even though most people are likely to feel at least a little guilty about their holiday eating habits. But according to studies done on the topic, holiday binging isn’t as scary as you think, and the amount of weight most people gain is pretty negligible.
One study pegged the average holiday weight gain as less than 1 per cent of the participants’ lowest weight during the year – so only 1kg for someone who weighs 100kg, and even less for those under that weight.
Interestingly there was also a notable difference between different cultures – the US and Japan both were around 0.7 per cent weight gain, which Germany was up at 1 per cent. Japanese participants were also found to gain weight during the Golden Week holiday, while Germans also experienced the phenomenon over Easter.
As Australian Christmas falls over summer, and our holiday diet tends to be a little lighter and have more of a focus on seafood, it’s likely that our local stats would be even lower.
This study also looked at the patterns of weight gain and loss. In the study sample, around half the holiday weight was lost again after the holiday period, while the other half of the extra weight remained into the summer months – though it’s unclear how different this would be in the summer hemisphere. But overall, seasonal weight changes are to be expected in most populations, and a small fluctuation over the year isn’t anything to be concerned over.
So enjoy those holiday treats guilt-free this year, just maybe balance it out with a few nice trips to the beach.