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This Surprising Habit Could Help You Avoid Holiday Weight Gain, According to a New Study

This new finding may even help you lose weight during the most difficult time of year.

We all know the holidays can be a tough time for your waistline. With Christmas cookies, festive candies, and drinks galore, it can be nearly impossible to resist those jolly good sweets. But you do have the power to resist those sugar-filled goodies with the right approach.

A study from the University of Birmingham and Loughborough University in the U.K.—called the Winter Weight Watch Study—sought to see if participants could consciously steer clear of excessive eating, and ultimately prevent putting on that holiday weight that tacks on year after year and—often—never comes off. What they found was pretty promising and could give you some tips for keeping weight off—or even losing weight during the holidays.

OK, how exactly did this study work?

The researchers recruited 272 adults in the U.K. to participate in a winter weight gain study during November and December of 2016 and 2017. Each trial spanned over the course of 45 days. About half of the group received a generic brochure that discussed the perks of healthy living, whereas the other half was assigned a weight-gain prevention program.

What did the weight-gain prevention program look like?

The weight-gain prevent program participants received an extensive amount of helpful advice and encouragement to keep weight off during the holiday season. They were instructed how to weigh themselves everyday and to "reflect on weight trajectory." Talk about practicing mindfulness!

They also received an additional 10 tips for weight management, such as sticking to a consistent meal routine, choosing healthy snacks, and walking at least 10,000 steps. In addition, they got a graphic-filled list of holiday foods, the calories that are in them, and the time it would take to burn off said calories via exercise. A small glass of mulled wine? That'll be 32 minutes of walking, please.

And what were the results?

The group on the weight-gain prevention program, on average, lost about a third of a pound after the holidays ended. The group that just received the pamphlet gained, on average, one pound. Statistically speaking, that's a meaningful amount of weight, especially in the long-term.

In an email to Reuters, Amanda Farley, co-author of the study, said, "On Christmas Day alone, someone might consume 6,000 calories." That's three times the daily recommended caloric intake for the average person. But here are some tips to avoid that startling statistic.

What were the 10 tips for weight management?

  1. Stick to a regular meal routine.
  2. Opt for reduced fat options.
  3. Walk 10,000 steps every day.
  4. Select healthy snacks.
  5. Read the labels on food products.
  6. Reconsider consuming large portions and grabbing seconds.
  7. Break up sitting time.
  8. Cut back on both alcoholic and sweet beverages.
  9. Eat slow.
  10. Try to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Read more about Cheyenne