After days of feasting at Christmas time, many people are the thickest – this is not just a perceived truth, but scientifically proven.
“On Christmas Day alone, a person can easily consume 6,000 calories – three times the recommended daily allowance,” said study author Frances Mason of the University of Birmingham.
As she and other scientists found out in a study in 2018 , it is not that difficult to lose weight during the holidays.
This does not require a strict diet, just following a few simple rules.
This is how you can lose weight at Christmas
The British researchers randomly assign 272 volunteers to either a so-called intervention group or a comparison group for the study entitled “Winter Weight Watch Study”.
The investigation was carried out in 2016 and 2017. The participants were weighed and measured in November and December each year. Then, in January and February, follow-up measurements were carried out.
The members of the intervention group were asked to weigh themselves at least twice a week, ideally every day, and to record their weight on an index card.
Lose weight this Christmas thanks to these tips
Documenting their weight alone should make it easier for the test subjects in the intervention group to keep their intake of food and drink under control, the researchers assume.
In addition, the test subjects in this group were given a list of how much physical activity would be required to burn the calories contained in popular foods and drinks that are traditionally consumed at Christmas.
For example, you have to walk for 33 minutes to burn off the calories in a small cup of mulled wine .
Finally, the experts gave members of the intervention group ten general tips for weight loss.
- if possible, food should always be consumed at the same time
- Stand for ten minutes every hour of the day
- walk a minimum of 10,000 steps a day
- at least five servings of fruit and vegetables per day
- Avoid fatty foods as much as possible
- do not take in between meals
- watch out for hidden fats and sugars
- Limit portion size
- Omit calorie-containing drinks
- grab healthy snacks
The weight loss tips were effective
The scientists’ pointers actually helped keep study participants from putting on weight during the festive season.
The participants in the comparison group who only received a brief information sheet about leading a healthy lifestyle increased slightly on average over the holidays, while the participants in the intervention group did not.
The participants in the intervention group finished the study with an average of 0.49 kilograms less on their hips than the members of the comparison group.
“Our research has shown that small adjustments during the holiday season can help prevent small weight gains that build up over the years and fuel the obesity epidemic,” says Professor Amanda Daley, who was also involved in the study.
No extra pounds at Christmas
Only a few studies have so far tested measures that could prevent weight gain during times of increased risk – such as the holidays, the researchers emphasize.
“This is the first known study that tested a strategy to prevent weight gain at Christmas,” it said.
The results are encouraging, concludes Professor Daley: “The information provided to participants was tailored to the local cultural context, but could easily be adapted for use in other settings and countries.”
Source : BMJ