Weight gain is likely on vacation and during the holidays. So, what can you do to avoid adding extra pounds during these fun times?

There are two weight gain avoidance techniques that are effective. Choose the one that you think will work for you.

Avoid Vacation Weight Gain by Using the Scale

A new study looked at how just using the scale can prevent holiday weight gain.

If the only thing you want to bring home from your vacation is a souvenir that fits in your suitcase and not the “resort 15,” you may want to take one simple step while enjoying the trip: step on a scale.

Researchers from the University of Georgia reveal that people who weigh themselves daily during times when they may be more likely to indulge — the holidays and vacations, for example — will more successfully maintain their weight or even lose some compared to people who don’t dare step on the scales.

Here’s how the study was conducted:

  • In the study, which was published this month in the journal Obesity, the researchers split 111 adults between the ages of 18 and 65 into two groups.
  • One group who was asked to weigh themselves daily, while the other was not.
  • The study’s authors asked the participants to try to maintain their starting weight through the study period, which ran from Thanksgiving to just after New Year’s Day.
  • However, the researchers did not give them specific instructions on how to do that.
  • Participants were free to pick, whether it was through exercise, cutting back on calories, or some other technique of their choice.
  • The control group, neither weighed daily nor were given any instructions about their weight.

Results of Holiday Weight Gain Study

These were the results of the holiday weight gain weight study:

  • At the end of the trial period and after a 14-week follow-up period, the participants who weighed daily were able to maintain or even lose weight.
  • The control group, on the other hand, gained weight.

Michelle vanDellen, PhD , an associate professor in the University of Georgia in the department of psychology’s behavioral and brain sciences program and one of the study’s authors, said in a statement: “People are really sensitive to discrepancies or differences between their current selves and their standard or goal. When they see that discrepancy, it tends to lead to behavioral change. Daily self-weighing ends up doing that for people in a really clear way.”

Another Weight Gain Avoidance Strategy

Other experts believe that the impulse to weigh daily either while on vacation or during the holiday season may more problematic than helpful. In others words, it may backfire.

Crystal C. Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, a registered dietitian and maternal health expert suggests a broader view: “When we think about health, it’s important to consider all factors that impact our wellness, including our mental health. When someone feels obligated to weigh themselves daily, this can create underlying stress and anxiety that literally sucks the joy out of life. If you’re going on vacation, I totally recommend ditching the scale so you can be fully present and actually enjoy your time.”

A middle-ground approach may be the path that will let you enjoy your vacation and keep you from worrying about the weight gain that’s possible with a bit of holiday splurging.

Rachel Fine, MS, RD, CSSD, CDN, a registered dietitian and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition, makes the following suggestion:

  • The best way to enjoy yourself and your vacation without constantly checking the scale’s moving hand is to approach vacation more judiciously. She encourages people to avoid the “let it all go” mindset while on vacation.
  • It’s common to indulge more than usual on vacation, usually as a result of being exposed to new experiences. These behaviors need not be measured by body weight whether on vacation or not on vacation.
  • Rather, mindful eating behaviors, whether you’re home or on vacation, enable you to enjoy your time measured through subjective experiences, rather than through objective body weight.

Choose to Weight Gain Avoidance Strategy that Works for You

Just chose the weight gain avoidance technique that is most effective for you.

  1. If you’re actively trying to lose weight or maintain it, you may already be in the habit of weighing more often than not. Continuing the habit while you’re away from home for a little R&R might help you keep the scale’s movement in check.
  • But if it will zap the joy of the vacation you’ve been dreaming of since your holiday break ended in the winter, skip the scale check-in and just eat more mindfully. Splurge where it’s worth it, but don’t go overboard at every meal on every day.

Click here to read full article outlining weight gain vacation and holiday strategies.