Step on the scale today: your weight is probably the lowest it will be all year. According to a recent study from Cornell University, most Americans weigh the least in early October. But it shouldn’t surprise anyone that scale numbers tend to rise again around the New Year.
Researchers analyzed the weigh-ins of nearly 3,000 men and women in Germany, Japan and the U.S. over a one-year period. The same trend was seen across all three countries: we all gain a little extra weight around holidays. Americans saw an increase of 0.2 percent at Thanksgiving and another 0.4 percent at Christmas. It takes about five months before your weight evens out and we see the pattern repeat.
There are a few possible reasons our weight is at its lowest this time of year. It could be because we’re just coming off the summer season, when people spend more time being active outdoors. We also tend to be more weight conscious while wearing shorts and swimsuits, versus when it gets colder and we can hide under sweaters and coats.
How can we avoid the weight gain and loss cycle? The researchers for this study recommend making an October resolution to gain less weight in the first place, rather than a New Year’s resolution to lose the weight after the holidays are over. As this data shows, it can take twice as long to lose the weight than it does to gain it.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for the next few months:
- Sticking to a consistent, regular exercise routine throughout the holidays can help keep the extra pounds at bay.
- Make sure to eat something healthy before holiday parties and gatherings so you don’t show up hungry and overeat the treats.
- Be picky about your indulgences. Eat only your favorites and don’t waste calories on ones you don’t love or the ones that aren’t special to the holiday season.