It’s that time of year. Flip through any magazine or scroll through social media and you’ll find countless tips on combating the dreaded holiday weight gain. There tends to be a huge fear around the holidays when it comes to weight gain. But is this fear all that it is hyped up to be? Read on to find out.

 Most people assume that they gain anaverage 5 pounds during the holidays. However, research suggests that the average person gains far less than this. A study looking at 200 adults in theUS showed that the average weight gain from January- November was 0.8 pounds.This is far from the amount most people assumed they would gain.  Yes, you may eat some extra food during the holiday, but one day of over eating or a couple of Christmas cookies at a party does not magically turn into 5 lbs.

Where does this fear of holiday weight gain come from? It may sound like a conspiracy theory, but I believe that a lot of this weight gain is hyped up by the diet industry itself. Remember, January 1stis the start of a diet for many people. The diet industry is smart. By instilling fear of supposed weight gain, you’ll get more people signed up for miracle diets come January 1st. The sad part about this is that diets cause more harm than good. You’ll likely not only gain the weight back, but also even more. Research shows that 95% of people who lose weight regain it, and 1/3 to2/3 of people end up at a higher weight than their pre-diet weight.  You’d be better off not starting a diet at all.

If you go into the holidays thinking thatyou’ll start a diet come January 1st, you’ll probably fall into the category of people who do gain excess weight during the holidays thanks to the“last supper phenomenon.” This is when food consumption increases prior to the start of a diet. (AKA You know that a new diet is around the corner, so you better eat those holiday treats now while you still can). This becomes a vicious cycle of overeating during the holidays because of the anticipated start of a diet in the New Year, weight loss with the start of a diet and then weight regain that occurs when you can longer follow that diet.

My advice: Don’t fret over weight gain, but rather, enjoy the delicious holiday foods. Listen to your body and honour itshunger and fullness cues. Come January 1st, don’t fall into the diet industry’s trap promising miracle weight loss programs.  These will likely cause more harm than good. Remember,the best diet is the one that you don’t know you’re on.

Categories: Megan Kuikman

Megan Kuikman

Hello! I’m Megan Kuikman. I’m a Registered Dietitian with specialized training in sports nutrition. My goal is to help athletes and active individuals achieve a healthy attitude towards health, training, and food. I empower athletes to fuel properly for training in order to restore their health and enhance performance. You can get in touch with me at:


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