Festive weight gain: are regular weigh-ins the answer?

New study says checking weight regularly during Christmas can prevent putting on unwanted pounds

A first of its kind study on festive weight gain which was carried out by the university of Birmingham and London Borough University was published today in the BMJ. It stated that a regular weight check during the month of December can prevent weight gain and even help in some weight loss.

Source: www.bmj.com

The study which was done in 2016 and 17 involved division of 272 people into two groups for observation. One of the group was given weight checks regularly and monitored their diet.

They also received information about calorie content in their food and the amount of exercise that would be required to burn them.

The members of the other group, however, were not given any information and were allowed to stick to their usual behavior. 

At the end of the study, the first group ended up weighing 0.49 kg (1 lb) less than the second group on an average.

The study authors were unsure of the exact factors which helped with the weight loss but did mention that 85 per cent of the people who weighed themselves lost weight

. Lead author, Frances Mason from the University of Birmingham told the BBC: “People gain a kilo of weight on average annually. Often this weight gain happens at Christmas, and is never fully lost. This could possibly be a factor driving the obesity epidemic.” link

A student of medicine in Poland, Mehul Sharma said: “I definitely try not to eat more during holidays but it happens anyway. I am a British citizen of Indian origin so my family celebrates so many more holidays along with Christmas and Easter.”

I agree that weighing yourself can help in preventing weight gain but I cannot even imagine doing that myself. I do worry about gaining weight during holidays, but counting calories is the last thing I want to think about when I am celebrating with family and friends.”

Even though this study was aimed at helping people control their weight, there were some negative reactions to it on social media. Some were very vocal about it on twitter. A user, legendadele tweeted: “I don’t get how people can say ‘don’t glamorize Eating Disorders’ but at the same time do a study with EXACTLY. THESE. BEHAVIOURS.”


While some users had a much more subtle reaction:


On the contrary, the researchers did not face any problems finding volunteers for the whole exercise. This, according to them, suggested that people were willing to exercise some restraint, while enjoying the holiday period.

However, there were no obvious variances between the groups in decreasing body-fat percentage or emotional eating.



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