The Holidays and Weight Loss Dieting - Still Oxymoronic to You?

The Plateau-proof Diet Foundation

Although the holidays are a time of celebration as well as reflection, they

also represent a veritable dieting nightmare. Almost as a rule, each

holiday party contains a wealth of food items deemed untouchable to most dieters.

It is no mistake that following the revelries of holiday binges come the all-forgiving

New Year’s resolutions, which most likely include some of the characteristics

such as overeating displayed during the previous weeks. This article will discuss

quick weight loss tips, the diet solution program, loosing weight,

some facts concerning weight loss maintenance during the holidays as well as

some helpful hints to get you through them.

The average person gains approximately 1.1 pounds (0.5 kg) during the holiday

season (1). Furthermore, people of all sizes gain weight in December and January.

Specifically, obese and normal-sized individuals gain 1.32 pounds (0.6 kg) and

0.88 pounds (0.4 kg), respectively (2). Although gaining 1.1 pounds may seem

like no big deal, for a person trying to lose weight, gaining instead of losing

weight is devastating and may threaten their desire to continue dieting.

So, why do we gain weight during the holidays? As you can probably imagine,

the reasons behind holiday weight gain are subjective, varying from person to

person, as well as complex, possibly involving multiple factors such as financial

and family stress along with increased social interactions surrounding foods

(i.e. holiday parties). Although occasional binge episodes during the holiday

seasons may seem harmless, there is evidence that people suffering from periodic

overeating are less likely to continue a dieting regimen (3). Furthermore, people,

who occasionally overeat, are more likely to have harder time controlling their


There is some evidence that self-monitoring, the systematic observation or recording

of target behaviors, may assist people during the holiday, helping individuals

to stay focused on their diet (4). In a study conducted by Baker et al., participants

that self-monitored, writing down their total food intake daily as well as time

the food was consumed and their weight each week, continued to lose weight during

the holiday season (4). However, the control group, participants that didn’t

self-monitor, gained 500% more weight over the holiday. Perhaps, self-monitoring

serves as a checkpoint between putting a food item on your plate and into your

mouth. Even outside of the holiday season, individuals that self-monitor, lost

64% more weight and continued with their diet as compared to participants that

didn’t self-monitor (5).

Perhaps self-monitoring provides some dieting consistency throughout the year.

A recent study of the National Weight Control Registry, composed of people who

lost significant amounts of weight and maintained their weight for 1 year, asked

the question: Does consistency in dieting matter in weight loss maintenance?

The answer was yes, people who maintained the same diet over weekdays, weekends,

and holidays were 1½ times more likely to maintain their weight as compared

to people dieted strictly on the weekdays and non-holidays (6). So, staying

consistent throughout the holiday season as well as self-monitoring can help

you get through the upcoming season, losing weight instead of gaining it. The

Plateau-Proof Diet Foundationoffers a free on-line weight loss log ([Http://])

where you will be able to record your weight loss, thus, self-monitor.

1.Garrow J 2000 Christmas factor and snacking. Lancet 355:8

2.Andersson I, Rossner S 1992 The Christmas factor in obesity therapy. Int

J Obes Relat Metab Disord 16:1013-5

3.Wadden TA, Bartlett S, Letizia KA, Foster GD, Stunkard AJ, Conill A 1992

Relationship of dieting history to resting metabolic rate, body composition,

eating behavior, and subsequent weight loss. Am J Clin Nutr 56:203S-208S

4.Baker RC, Kirschenbaum DS 1998 Weight control during the holidays: highly

consistent self-monitoring as a potentially useful coping mechanism. Health

Psychol 17:367-70

5.Sperduto WA, Thompson HS, O'Brien RM 1986 The effect of target behavior

monitoring on weight loss and completion rate in a behavior modification program

for weight reduction. Addict Behav 11:337-40

6.Gorin AA, Phelan S, Wing RR, Hill JO 2004 Promoting long-term weight control:

does dieting consistency matter? Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 28:278-81

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