Decoding holiday weight gain: Why it’s more common in Australia than you think

Most commonly, we associate the colder months of the year with weight gain. After all, it makes sense that your body tries to build up its energy reserves as it prepares to brace for the harsher weather. 

However, while there’s some truth to this, especially in the northern hemisphere, the most notable weight gain among Australian adults appears to happen during the warmest months of the year. 

A recent study indicates that the most substantial weight gain among Australian adults occurs during the warmest months, notably around New Year, Christmas, and Easter.

The changing eating patterns over the holidays    

The study was conducted by Ty Ferguson, Research Associate, University of South Australia and Carol Maher, Professor, University of South Australia. It was conducted with 375 adults aged 18 to 65 years. They wore a fitness tracker and weighed themselves at least weekly over a 12-month period. The research, published in JAMA Open Network, uncovered the subtle yet significant weight gain patterns of everyday Australians.

When we compare this new research with patterns from the northern hemisphere, it suggests it’s holidays and festive occasions – not just cooler weather – that drive weight gain. 

Many of us tend to deviate from our regular dietary habits, increasing our consumption of carbohydrates and fats. However, there’s more. It’s not only the “big” holidays that can affect your weight. The same study has shown notable weight fluctuations even throughout the typical week, with most Australians gaining a few extra grams during the weekend. 

In all likelihood, most people tend to relax on the weekends, becoming less concerned about their food choices and more likely to indulge in less-than-healthy cravings. Add to that the increased alcohol consumption on the weekends, and all the “holiday” weight gain starts to make much more sense. 

Importance of avoiding the holiday yo-yo weight gain

It’s estimated that over 67% of adults in Australia are overweight or obese. This is why it’s important to understand all the health risks and complications that even a few extra kilos can lead to. 

Obesity is associated with increased risks of type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, coronary heart disease, stroke, depression, anxiety, and overall mortality. 

Moreover, it’s not just obesity in itself that can impact your health. Frequent and significant weight fluctuations affect your overall well-being and could lead to long-term weight gain. 

To avoid issues associated with weight gain, you must develop healthy and, perhaps more importantly, sustainable habits. Moreover, you should develop strategies (such as exercising more or avoiding overeating) that can help you maintain a healthy weight not just during the holidays but throughout the year.

Final thoughts

Some weight gain during the holidays is to be expected – it’s difficult to resist a hearty holiday meal and all the delicious desserts you don’t get to enjoy daily. However, moderation and mindfulness are key. 

For personalised support in managing your weight, consult with your healthcare provider or our friendly pharmacists – Jenny, Gavin, Michelle, Maria, Amy, or Jill. Additionally, we’re excited to introduce our resident Naturopath, Rochelle, who specialises in addressing the root causes of health concerns.

Feel free to reach out to any of our team members for a helpful chat at (03) 9509 7912 or visit us in person at 153 Burke Rd, Glen Iris, VIC 3146. If you’d like to schedule an appointment with Rochelle, you can conveniently book online. We’re here to support you on your wellness journey.

Opinions or facts expressed within the content have been sourced from various news sources. While every effort has been taken to source them accurately, the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates do not take any responsibility for errors in these sources. Patients should not rely on the facts or opinions in the content to manage their own health, and should seek the advice of an appropriate medical professional. Further, the opinions or facts in the content do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the pharmacy, its owners, staff or other affiliates. 

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