Holiday weight gain. Fact or Myth?

As preparation for the holiday season approaches, mark weight gain off your list. 

Jamie Cooper, UGA associate professor and director in the department of food and nutrition, conducted a study that found tactical measures to ease the stress of holiday weight gain. 

The research reveals if you do tend to worry about holiday weight gain, you can turn that tactic to your advantage by focusing on weight to a specific time once a day. Cooper’s study confirms that those who weighed themselves daily eased the stress they felt and either lost or maintained their weight throughout the holiday season. 

Cooper, says the subjects self-select how they are going to modify their behavior. This can be effective since most “interventions” are not one-size-fits-all.

In her research, Cooper adds that it has also been shown that individuals who are overweight or obese are susceptible to gaining the most weight. In contrast; however, individuals who regularly exercise are not protected from weight gain during the holidays.

According to, a 2019 study from Texas Tech University followed 48 men and 100 women between the ages of 18 and 65 for the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. At the beginning and end of the study, researchers measured the subjects' weights and body fat percentages. On average, the volunteers gained only one and a half pounds.

Before the holiday celebrations begin, remember these few tips from bloating isn’t the same as weight gain so don’t lose your motivation to continue a healthy lifestyle after the holidays. 

"Vacations and holidays are probably the two times of year people are most susceptible to weight gain in a very short period of time," Cooper concluded. "The holidays can actually have a big impact on someone's long-term health."

Cooper teaches online courses in Introduction to Sports Nutrition and Wellness and Current Issues in Sports Nutrition at the University of Georgia.

Original article appeared on AJC.

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