Is weighing yourself daily the key to preventing holiday weight gain?

An image to illustrate holiday weight gain and how weighing yourself daily may help to prevent it
©iStock/Rostislav_Sedlacek

Weighing yourself daily could prevent holiday weight gain, on vacations and during the festive season, according to new research.

The study has been published in Obesity, and assessed how weighing yourself daily could limit holiday weight gain.

Holiday weight gain

The study author Jamie Cooper, PhD is an associate professor in the Department of Foods and Nutrition at the University of Georgia College of Family and Consumer Sciences. Cooper commented: “Vacations and holidays are probably the two times of year people are most susceptible to weight gain in a very short period of time. The holidays can actually have a big impact on someone’s long-term health.”

Can weighing yourself daily help you to maintain weight?

The study found that the participants who weighed themselves on a daily basis and received graphical feedback of their weight changes maintained or lost weight during the holiday season measured ( mid November 2017 to early January 2018), while the participants who did not weigh themselves daily gained weight instead.

Cooper added: “Maybe they exercise a little bit more the next day (after seeing a weight increase) or they watch what they are eating more carefully. The subjects self-select how they are going to modify their behaviour, which can be effective because we know that interventions are not one-size-fits-all.”

Michelle van Dellen, an associate professor in the University of Georgia Department of Psychology and second author on the paper, said the findings support discrepancy theories of self-regulation. Van Dellen explained: “People are really sensitive to discrepancies or differences between their current selves and their standard or goal. When they see that discrepancy, it tends to lead to behavioural change. Daily self-weighing ends up doing that for people in a really clear way.”

Future research possibilities

Susan Yanovski, MD, is an obesity researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases who was not involved in the study. Yanovski said: “replication in larger studies with more diverse participants would help to determine the generalizability of this approach for weight gain prevention.”

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