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The benefits of scales to fight excess holiday pounds

Research shows that people around the world eat more during the holiday season and put on weight as a result. At the same time, they often find it difficult to lose this extra weight. Even if the weight gained often only amounts to a few extra pounds, it can accumulate over the years and lead to manifest weight problems. Consequently, there is a wealth of advice from various sources on how to prevent weight-gain over the holidays. Researchers from the University of Georgia recently showed that simply stepping onto the scales can help.

In their study, they divided 111 test subjects into two groups and followed them for 6 months. During this period they examined the participants on three dates: one before Thanksgiving, one after New Year's Day and one 14 weeks thereafter. The participants in the test group were encouraged to maintain their weight and weigh themselves every day. They also received their weight curve as a graph. In contrast, the control group did not receive any specific instructions.

It was found that the participants in the control group gained an average of about four pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. By comparison, the weight in the intervention group remained stable during the period under investigation. To be more precise, participants whose weight was normal maintained their weight, whereas overweight and obese people even lost weight. Although the control group lost weight in the 14 weeks after New Year's Day, they lost only about half of the weight gained, so that they weighed more after the holiday season than before.

This study confirms previous research which concluded that holidays can lead to steady weight-gain over the years. At the same time, researchers showed that even simple measures can contribute to effective weight management. The researchers claim that people react sensitively to differences between their actual and original or desired state. If a discrepancy is identified, changes in behaviour can be triggered. Hence, weighing scales show even small weight changes that might otherwise go unnoticed. This feedback can increase the motivation to counteract an increase in weight and to eat less or exercise more the next day. Furthermore, people are very receptive to graphical content, which can give a playful character to many subjects. This is best illustrated by the example of increasingly popular health gadgets or mobile apps that provide health data in the form of graphics and statistics.

If your figure is to survive the holidays unscathed, it is worth a try weighing yourself every day and recording the results in writing. Even if you keep your eye on your weight all the time, it does not mean that you have to sacrifice delicacies entirely, so make the most of the holiday season.

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