Millennial adult friends celebrating Thanksgiving together at home

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NEW YORK — It’s pretty clear that 2020 has been a year many people won’t forget, for all the wrong reasons. Some people are so ready to move into 2021, they’re “writing off the end of the year” when it comes to health and fitness. A survey finds over half of Americans are putting their diets and exercise routines into quarantine until the new year.

The third annual survey of 2,000 Americans, commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition, reveals 56 percent are using the holidays as an excuse to postpone their healthy choices. Those respondents add they’re taking the approach of starting fresh in January. Interestingly enough, this is significantly up from previous years. Only 41 percent used the holidays as an excuse to indulge themselves in 2019, a jump of 15 percent.

This year’s poll also reveals 43 percent have broken a diet due to the temptation of holiday food. The average respondent expects to gain seven pounds over the course of the festive season. Conducted by OnePoll, the survey finds the added stress of everything happening in 2020, including the coronavirus pandemic, may have a big role in why more people want to spoil themselves this winter.

More Americans feel they’ve earned a break

Holiday Diets 2020
(Credit: SWNS)

Six in 10 Americans (61%) feel they deserve to indulge this holiday season because of the stress caused by 2020. The survey included a global component that provided an interesting comparison. Less than half (49%) of the 4,000 global respondents said they believe they deserve more holiday treats because of COVID.

While 53 percent of Americans find themselves making more unhealthy choices — in an effort to feel better about the holidays being different this year — only 44 percent of respondents worldwide said the same.

The survey also reveals some interesting eating habits Americans will partake in during the holiday season. More than four in 10 respondents (45%) said they plan to eat so much they’ll have to undo a button on their pants or loosen a belt. Only 30 percent made that claim in 2019. More Americans have also eaten more than one of the same meals in a day (43%), compared to 2019 (36%) and have eaten more than three meals in a day (35% vs 24%).

During the holiday season, respondents have also eaten more than one dessert during dinner (43%) and have eaten until they felt sick, unwell, or ready to burst (30%). Of those Americans who are shelving their healthy habits, four in 10 started in mid-November as Thanksgiving approached. Another 43 percent admit they stop attempting to be healthy during the holiday season.

“The hectic nature of holiday season may be a tough time for many to maintain their healthy lifestyle, but it’s important not to write off your healthy lifestyle goals,” says Dr. Kent Bradley, Chief Health and Nutrition Officer at Herbalife Nutrition, in a statement. “One way to beat the temptations, is to eat healthy snacks that are high in protein, curbing the desire to overeat.”

A fresh start in 2021

Sixty-two percent of respondents say they’re adopting a “new year, new me” attitude. Around the world, 39 percent are planning to make a resolution for 2021. The top goals include exercising more (26%), making healthier food decisions (25%), and focusing on self-care (21%).

Of those who made a resolution last year, a surprising number have actually been successful. The poll finds 61 percent said they’re still following their 2020 resolution. Globally, respondents believe having more time at home this year allowed them the opportunity to make healthier choices than they would have otherwise (59%) and it gave them time to focus on themselves (63%).

“Resolutions are a great way to kick off the year on a positive note, but make sure you set achievable goals. Small and steady changes to your diet and fitness routine are more sustainable and having a community to encourage and celebrate your success with you, even if virtually, can make a huge difference,” Bradley adds.

Herbalife Nutrition’s third annual “Writing off the End of the Year” survey included the following countries: U.S. (2,000 respondents), Mexico (1,000 respondents), Greece (1,000 respondents), Bulgaria (1,000 respondents) and Romania (1,000 respondents).

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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