Q: I have heard that American’s put on anywhere from 5 to 10 pounds during the holiday season.  Is that true and what are some tips to prevent the weight gain?

A: Recent research by Cornell University found the average weight gain by Americans during the holiday season to be 1.3 pounds.  This amount may not seem significant, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • The 1.3 pounds is not muscle gain.  It is fat.
  • 1.3 is the average.  Some gain less and others gained more weight.  The higher gains usually occur in Americans that are already overweight.
  • It took four weeks to add the weight, but it can take up to six months to burn off
  • As you enter midlife, you naturally lose muscle mass and gain weight.  This potentially means the 1.3 pounds per holiday season are never burned off.  The combination of muscle loss and weight gain can easily result in 20 additional pounds of fat in a decade.

What are some tips to prevent the weight gain?

  • Eat breakfast.  Breakfast jumps starts your metabolism and prevents overeating at holiday parties.
  • Keep you regular routine:  eating, sleeping and daily activities.
  • Don’t increase your consumption of high calorie drinks (alcohol, eggnog, etc.)
  • Avoid high calorie holiday favorites (gravy, pecan pie, etc.)
  • Don’t forget about exercise.


The following websites were used in answering the question: