Diet & WeightNewsletter

Christmas & weight gain

Executive summary

* The festive period is notorious for weight gain and this phenomenon has been the subject of academic studies.

* Study 1 in this note (272 adults, UK) encouraged restraint in the intervention group vs ‘approach Christmas as normal’ in the control. The difference in weight after 45 days was 1lb, 0.5kg. Statistically significant, but not significant in the normal use of the word.

* Study 2 (195 adults, US) looked at gain from pre-holiday (Sept/Oct) to post holiday (Feb/March) and found that the average gain was small, but some gains were large, and weight wasn’t always back to normal post holidays, leading to the risk that gains each year could add up to a weight problem over time.

* Study 3 (3,725 adults, Europe) found that people gain on average 1.35% of their body weight (that would equate to 2lb in a 140lb person). The sex, age, and country comparisons in this paper were interesting. This study also found that weight tends to fall during the week and rise over the weekend, so avoiding weekend gain could be a productive weight loss strategy all year round.

* The rest of the note shares my top five tips for avoiding weight gain during this and any other period of celebration.


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