• Fri, Nov 29 - 11:30 am ET

Exercise Won’t Help You With Holiday Weight Gain

holiday weight gain santa clauseOh, were you planning on burning off the excess calories you consumed last night? If so, then according to a new study published in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, you are one foolish turkey…one foolish and soon to be chubby turkey.

Researchers followed 100 women and 48 men (Oh wow, such a significant number of participants) aged between 18 and 65 for the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years. Half of those studied were seriously committed to fitness and workout for about 5 hours a week (almost doubling the amount recommended by the American Heart Association), while the other half copped to being more sedentary. The participants were weighed and measured, tested for body fat percentage and blood pressure.

The results indicate that people gain an average of one and a half pounds on average during the six-week holiday season. Men tend to gain around two pounds and women just over one pound. That number may seem insignificant, but it could result in what Health Day calls “weight creep.” Annually, people gain about two pounds that they never take off, making the “weight creep” some sort of 2 pound boogey man who attaches himself to your ass and never leaves. After 10 years the two pound boogey man has compounded to be 20 pounds. So what are we supposed to do? Are we doomed? Maybe.

The bad or good news for those trying to keep their weight down, starting weight is the best indicator of how much weight would be put on over the holiday season. Those who were obese at the start of the study gained the most weight and had the most significant increase in body fat percentage. The really bad news is that exercise seemingly had “no significant impact on holiday weight gain” for reasons unbeknownst be the researchers, partially because they admittedly “didn’t have enough participants to detect small differences in weight change between exercisers and non-exercisers.” The scientists do speculate that those who compensate for extra festive calories with exercise end up consuming more than they can burn off.

The moral of this holiday fable: moderation is king, but don’t stop working out just because it won’t help you keep a few pounds at bay. The fit faction of the study maintained better blood pressure throughout the holidays than the couch potatoes.

I know better than anyone that even a mere 0.3 lb increase on the scale can send some people into a self hating spiral of doom, but try to not let it take over your life if you do gain weight.

via Health Day//Image via The Santa Clause (1994)

What We're Reading:
Share This Post:
  • Easymoney

    I have no idea how I ended up on this website reading this idiotic artcicle but one thing is for sure i’ll never step a foot here again. You might wanna delete this article to save your website from loosing any more credibility.

    You are literally telling your readers that exercising 5 hours per week won’t help them gain more weight , that is the stupidiest thing I have ever heard.
    5 hours per week of exercise represents about 1500 – 2000 calories burned ( depending on the intensity ) calories taken from the sugar from all the holidays food. Assuming everyone in your study ate the same ammount, Over the course of 2 weeks , that’s a total of 4000 calories burned . Meaning the people who did exercice will have taken 1 pounds of fat ( = 4k cal ) less than the others.

    That’s simple maths , Also the 4000 calories that they burned off are 4000 calories of pure bad sugar that the body used as a fuel during the exercise , bad sugar that increases insulin in the blood , which is the main storage hormone that will favoritize fat storage for the people that did not exercise.

  • Caroline

    Overeating in holidays might turn out into increased body weight, but you can still cover it up with the exercises. There are several pattern of exercises that one can adopt in order to prevent themselves from getting over weighted during the holidays. You can prefer cardio exercises, stretching and even running a few miles would help you in maintaining your body weight. Being a fitness trainer I would not suggest you to prefer hard core exercises but yes you can reduce your weight once you get back normal to your daily routine. Even there are plenty of health supplements that can help you during your workout sessions.