Public Release: 

Make an October weight resolution

The weight you gain before the new year can take 5 months to lose!

Cornell Food & Brand Lab

You probably weigh less this week than you'll weigh any week over the entire year! If you're an average American, your weight starts to rise from this week on. The culprit? The holiday season--Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's.

Research findings just published in the New England Journal of Medicine show that the weight you gain in the next 3 months can take over 5 months to lose.

From their analysis of the weight patterns of nearly 3,000 individuals, researchers found that in the US, weight patterns begin rising around Thanksgiving and peak around Christmas and the New Year. It isn't until after Easter (about 5 months later) that weight patterns even out, with only slight fluctuations between April and November. The researchers also analyzed yearly weight patters in Germany and Japan. Similar to the US, those in Germany weighed the most around the Christmas/New-Year period and those in Japan weighed the most during Golden Week in April - a major Japanese holiday. Each country also showed a peak in weight for New Year's.

"Everyone gains weight over the holidays -- Americans, Germans, Japanese," explains co-author Brian Wansink, Cornell Food and Brand Lab Director and author of Slim by Design, "Instead of making a New Year's Resolution, make an October resolution. It's easier to avoid holiday pounds altogether than to lose them after they happen."

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