Winter is coming and with it, some extra flab. According to recent research, the beginning of October is when Americans weigh the least, after which the number just creeps up during cookies-and-passed-hors-d’oeuvre season.
Researchers collected data from the Withings wireless scales of about 1,800 Americans, 800 Germans, and 400 Japanese people over a one-year period starting in August 2012. Americans’ weights hit a high point around New Year’s Day and they didn’t get back to their pre-holiday weights until late April. Brian Wansink, Ph.D., director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, published his findings as a letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine.
But the Americans in this study were people who dropped $150 on a fancy scale; they were not a cross-section of the country. In fact, only about a quarter of them were obese, which is less than the national average of 36.5 percent. So not even super weight-conscious people could avoid holiday weight gain. What’s more, Wansink believes these people probably gained less weight and lost it faster than the general population would have.
He offered a suggestion to the New York Times: “Instead of trying to come up with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, it’s a whole lot better to maybe have an Oct. 1 resolution to gain less in the first place,” he said. Wow, that hurts on an emotional level.
Or you could compulsively weigh yourself and suck all the fun out of the holidays. Wansink said that people who weighed themselves at least four times a week gained fewer pounds than people who weighed in less frequently and lost it by the end of January. I’m good, thanks.