Gobble away! Average American will put on 6 pounds during holiday season, study finds

NEW YORK — If you’re planning on enjoying all of your meals this holiday season without worrying about the calories, the fat, or the serving sizes, you’re not alone. A new survey shows nearly half of Americans are taking a hiatus on following a healthy diet until the start of the new year — with about one in eight people making it to 2019 without gaining any weight.

According to the survey of 2,000 adults, which was commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition, 45 percent of respondents plan on holding off from plans to eat healthier or lose weight until 2019. In fact, the average American will put on an extra six pounds from chowing down on holiday food. Conversely, the study found just 12 percent will get past the holidays avoiding weight gain.

With so many choices on the table, it’s no wonder that 44 percent of respondents admit to eating more than one Thanksgiving dinner in the same day — with three in 10 indulging themselves so much they feel sick to their stomachs. Understandably, four in 10 say they’ve eaten so much, they find themselves undoing a button on their pants for some extra belly space.

Experts say that noshing on a few snacks throughout the day can help prevent people from overindulging.

“Healthy snacking is a useful tool in combating overindulgence. Consuming protein-rich snacks before heading out to a holiday feast can help make you feel full, so that you don’t over indulge,” says Dr. John Agwunobi, co-president and chief health and nutrition officer at Herbalife Nutrition, in a statement.

Still, the temptation to enjoy holiday meals — and all the leftovers that stick around in our refrigerators — leads the average American to overeat on 13 days between Thanksgiving and the New Year. Eight in 10 find themselves eating more sweets during the holiday season.

Despite all the eating, half of the respondents don’t plan on exercising regularly until the start of the new year to help offset all the weight gain. Even so, 54 percent think they’ll successfully stick to their plans to be healthier in 2019. A third of respondents have already decided on their New Year’s resolutions for 2019. Leading the way is exercising more (71 percent), eating healthier (71 percent), focusing on self-care (55 percent), saving more money (54 percent), and learning a new skill or hobby (38 percent).

If you find that keeping healthy during the holidays or sticking to your resolutions is just too hard, Agwunobi suggests turning to loved ones for help.

“Staying on track can be hard especially if you are tackling it on your own. Developing a support system of people who know your goals, strengths, and weaknesses can be extremely beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially during the challenging times of the year,” he says. “For best results, stick to a balanced diet that isn’t overly restrictive and combine it with consistent exercise to help achieve your healthy resolutions. You can start this holiday season simply by parking at the farthest spot from the store or mall entrance, helping you rack up extra calorie burning steps.”

The survey, which included 2,000 American adults who celebrate  Chanukkah, Kwanzaa, and/or Christmas, was conducted in October 2018.

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