New research into weight gain has some good and bad news for people of all sizes. First the good, which is that it’s likely you’ll be the skinniest you’ve been all year, either this week or next week (so, yay?). The bad news is that this is actually a cruel joke your body’s playing on you, because it’s the only week you’ll be that skinny: It’s up, up, up from here on out. The team of researchers responsible for this depressing finding, which was published as a New England Journal of Medicine letter to the editor last week, gathered weight-gain data on 1,800 Americans, 400 Japanese, and 800 Germans for one year, and they found that, yep, as everybody knows firsthand, people tend to overeat during the holidays.
Where things go from oof to doom and gloom, though, is with the broader context the study puts it all in — basically, that while the period from Halloween to New Year’s Day sends the average person’s weight along an ever-increasing exponential curve, it actually takes all the way until April to get that weight back off, then until summer to see any measurable losses. (“Anything that happens in these next 10 weeks, on average, takes about five months to come off,” one researcher says.)
“Advising a patient to have better self-control over the holidays is one approach,” the authors write, before adding that, on second thought, that’s probably futile advice: “Although up to half of holiday weight gain is lost shortly after the holidays, half the weight gain appears to remain until the summer months or beyond.” So look forward to all those upcoming holiday celebrations, family get-togethers, and office parties — they’re really going to leave you crammed full of the season’s spirits.