Those who are overweight or obese tend to gain weight in excess at the holidays. While weight gain can follow any holiday, for most Americans the most difficult period is during the six-weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Although weight gain is only a few pounds, it is weight that is never lost. Read: The Skinny on Weight Gain at the Holidays
We Eat Even More After the Holidays
Prof. Lizzy Pope of the University of Vermont, led a study as a post-doctoral researcher at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab. She discovered that people buy foods in the first three months of the New Year that have about twice as many calories as those foods that were purchased during the holidays. Read: Controlling Portion Sizes at the Holidays
Researchers reviewed the shopping patterns of 200 New York state households based on how much was spent on groceries over three time periods: the holiday period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, the post-holiday period from New Year’s until March, and the baseline amount from July to Thanksgiving.
The number of calories purchased weekly increased 9.3% after the new year when compared to holiday purchases and increased 20% when compared to baseline purchases.
Americans buy about 440 extra calories per serving during the holidays and 450 calories per serving during the post-holiday. Although the desire to change eating habits after the holidays is sincere, the reality is unfortunate. While the purchase of healthy foods increases during the post-holiday, the purchase of unhealthy foods stays the same as during the holidays. Read: Avoid Failed Diet Resolution Crash and Burn.
Pope suggests using a written shopping list that can help to control impulsive purchases of unhealthy foods. She reminds us that not sticking to the list will get the predictable result.
Pope also suggests swapping less-healthy foods with fresh produce, instead of just adding random healthy foods to the shopping cart. Read: Meal Planning Tips for Weight Loss.
Pope’s final thought is to split the grocery cart into halves. Fill one half with only healthy foods as a visual reminder to stay on track.
In good health,