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People tend to gain weight during the holiday season, which persists even after the end of vacations.
Previous research has shown the holiday season can lead to weight gain and that persists after end of holidays & could contribute to annual weight gain.
While overweight or obese individuals are susceptible to gaining the most weight, people who regularly exercise are not protected from weight gain either during holidays.
According to the study, people who weighed themselves on a daily basis and received graphical feedback of their weight changes either maintained or lost weight during the holiday season, while those who didn't perform daily self-weighing gained weight.
"Maybe they exercise a little bit more the next day (after seeing a weight increase) or they watch what they are eating carefully," said study author Jamie Cooper, Associate Professor at the University of Georgia in the US.
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The study involved 100 adults in the 18-65 age group. Participants in the intervention group were instructed to try to maintain baseline weight throughout the holiday season. But no additional instructions on how to achieve that goal were provided. This allowed each participant to self-select how they would modify their behaviour.
For instance, an individual could become more physically active or decide to eat less if a weight increase was noticed. Participants in the control group were given no instructions.
Researchers then engaged in a 14-week follow-up period after the intervention and found that daily self-weighing helped people change behaviour.
"People are really sensitive to discrepancies or differences between their current selves and their standard or goal," said Michelle vanDellen from the University of Georgia.
"When they see that discrepancy, it tends to lead to behavioural change. Daily self-weighing ends up doing that for people in a clear way," she said.
The study is scheduled to be published in the journal Obesity.