During the holidays, it is difficult to avoid gaining a few extra pounds. A recent study investigated a simple, low-impact way to reduce seasonal swelling.
During festive season, people’s waist tends to expand as self-control contracts.
While food and drink flow freely, restraint is insufficient and sedentary activities abound. And as we relax, we tend to be cautious.
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Festive weight gain is so common that it has become a joke; however, it has a serious side.
Obesity is a growing problem and reversing it through permanent lifestyle changes does not seem to work for most people.
A new approach to obesity?
Research has shown that when we gain weight during the holidays, we rarely manage to lose weight once the lump has left the tree. As the years go by, this type of seasonal weight gain increases.
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The authors of a recent study believe that targeting this time of year could provide an innovative way to reduce the impact of obesity. By focusing on the times when weight gain is most significant, it may be possible to slow down annual weight gain in general.
Scientists from the Institute for Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham and the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences at Loughborough University in the UK conducted the study.
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Specifically, they wanted to understand if a relatively short and simple intervention could reduce weight gain at Christmas. To find out, they recruited participants just before Christmas 2016 and 2017. In total, they involved 272 people; 78% were women and 78% were white.
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The researchers divided the participants between an intervention group and a control group. Members of the intervention group were asked to record their weight at least twice a week, although preferably more often.
The authors explain why regular weighing is essential:
“Weighing and regularly recording weight to check progress toward a goal (self-monitoring) has proven to be an effective behavioral intervention in weight management programs.”
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The researchers encouraged participants in the intervention group to think about their weight and how it changes over time. As the authors explain, the intervention “aimed to promote the retention of energy consumption”.
Participants were also given tips on weight management and were given a list of festive foods, along with information on how much physical activity they should do to burn the calories of each food they ate. For example, it would take 21 minutes of running to burn the calories found in a pie.
After adjusting the data for confounding variables, the researchers found that individuals in the intervention group gained less weight than those in the control group – on average 0.49 kilograms less.
Those in the intervention group also showed more restraint, managing to limit their caloric intake more than those in the control group.
Although the difference in weight gain was smaller than the researchers had hoped, they are still excited about the results.
Because the holiday season is an annual event, even if people prevent only a small amount of weight gain each year, it could reach a considerable amount over a lifetime.
The information presented on this website is informative and does not replace the medical diagnosis or product leaflet. Any decision about your health should only be made after consultation with your doctor.
Source: DoctorulZilei by www.doctorulzilei.ro.
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