The Key to Preventing Weight Gain Over Christmas
A study has revealed the top tips to preventing weight gain over the festive period.
Regularly getting on the scales is one of the ways to avoid putting on weight, according to the study, which was published in the British Medical Journal.
Festive eating and drinking
Over the festive period, most people’s diet and healthy eating gets put on the backburner, as they enjoy the various eating and drinking opportunities that Christmas and New Year offers. In fact it is estimated that just on Christmas Day, the average person will consume 6,000 calories – three times the recommended daily intake.
With the festive season tending to run from early December to early January, prolonged over-eating and drinking inevitably leads to some weight gain in most people. It is estimated that people gain between 2 and 8 pounds over the festive period.
A study by the University of Birmingham has looked at ways that people can control their weight over the Christmas holiday period.
There were 272 participants in the study. Half were allocated to a behavioural intervention aimed at restricting weight gain, including being asked to weigh themselves twice a week. The other half didn’t track their weight and were just given a healthy lifestyle leaflet, which didn’t contain advice on diet.
Those in the intervention group were given tips on how to avoid over-indulging, including how much exercise is needed to burn the calories in Christmas food – this was given in the form of pictures of popular foods and the length of exercise needed.
Avoid weight gain
Those who tracked their weight and were given dietary advice lost 130 grams (0.3kg) between November/December and January/February. The others put on 370 grams (0.8kg). Those who lost weight had weighted themselves twice a week.
The researchers conclude that providing advice on diet, and tracking weight, could help avoid weight gain over Christmas.
The weight management tips that the intervention group was given included: keeping to a meal routine; choosing reduced fat foods; walking 10,000 steps a day; packing healthy snacks; reading food labels; limiting alcohol; focusing on eating slowly; and eating at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
Frances Mason, lead author, said: “Research shows people underestimate calories, and overestimate their calorie expenditure. This is why accurate self-monitoring is an effective strategy for weight management.”
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