Holiday weight gain–what can we do?

Anne Berit Johnsen. Photo: Lasse Berre.

I have sat down at the desk to write blog and trying to enjoy a little extra with a cup of coffee and I have pre started on my favorite Christmas chocolate. In a very few days Christmas is coming up and it is time to celebrate with all our favorite Christmas food and plenty of it!!!! I guess I am not the only one that is planning to go back to my normal healthier diet in January, but right now it is all about Christmas and food temptations. Still it has crossed my mind that I might struggle a bit with the extra pounds gained over Christmas.

Guess what – my fears are scientifically justified in a study published in New England Journal of Medicine. In the study, nearly 3000 participants in Germany, Japan, and USA weighed themselves with wireless digital scales over 12 months. The researchers retrieved the weight data through a smartphone app and analyzed daily fluctuations in weight. Participants from all three countries saw their weight increase over Christmas (weight increase of 0.4% in the United States, 0.6% in Germany and 0.5% in Japan. Weight gain was also observed around Thanksgiving (United states, Easter (Germany and United States) and Golden week (Japan).

Holiday weight gain is a fact – so what to do? Of course if we eat less there is less to lose. It might be very hard, but It is a good strategy to enjoy all our favorite Christmas foods without overeating. Even with the knowledge about weight gain during holidays, if you are like me there is still a risk of blowing all sense and just dig in. That’s not too bad if we are continuing to exercise during Christmas.

Go for a walk or run during daytime to get both daylight and some exercise and the Christmas meals will be even more tasteful.

Merry Christmas!


Anne Berit Johnsen, postdoc at CERG

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About CERG

The Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) seeks to identify the key mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of physical on cardiac health in the context of disease prevention and treatment. Named the K.G. Jebsen Center for Exercise in Medicine under Professor Ulrik Wisløff's leadership in 2011, CERG uses both top-down and bottom-up approaches to combat lifestyle-related disease.

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