The holiday season is full of minefields that can derail a weight-loss or weight-maintenance plan: high-calorie treats, limited time for exercise and stress.
In a study published in the journal Health Psychology, University of Florida researchers examined how people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviors during one week can predict weight change the following week. Knowing what factors play a role in week-to-week weight change may help people manage their weight during challenging periods, such as the holidays, said lead author Dr. Kathryn Ross, an assistant professor in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology in the University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions.
“Based on our findings, weighing yourself regularly, tracking your calories and engaging in physical activity might be particularly important strategies for preventing extra weight gain during the holidays,” Dr. Ross said. “Most people tend to experience some weight gain around the winter holiday season, but people who continue to self-monitor their calorie intake and weight are less likely to gain weight during this time.”
In addition to self-monitoring, the researchers found people who were most successful at losing weight made food choices consistent with their weight-loss goals and placed greater importance on staying on track with goals. They also reported more positive mood, less boredom with weight-control efforts, less hunger and less temptation to eat foods “not on plan.”
Conversely, people who regained weight were less likely to self-monitor, engaged in less physical activity and had a less-positive mood, more stress and greater temptation to skip planned physical activity, and felt that staying on track took more effort.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on December 20