Hop on the scale. Odds are good that right now, at this very moment, you’ll weigh less than at any other point in the year, according to research from Cornell University.
For the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers analyzed the weigh-ins of nearly 3,000 men and women across three countries: 760 from Germany, 383 from Japan, and 1,781 from the U.S. The researchers used scales that sent data via Wi-Fi instead of having participants self-report their weight gain or loss, or go to a testing facility.
The same trend pattern was seen across all three nations: We collectively loosen our belts and enjoy (or, rather, tolerate) some extra poundage around the holidays. Similar to Americans, Germans weigh the most around Christmas, while those in Japan weigh the most in the spring, during their national holiday, Golden Week. Each country also experiences weight gain around the new year.
American participants indicated a weight bump of 0.2 percent during Thanksgiving, and another 0.4 percent at Christmas.
And most of us don’t lose that weight in a hurry, either: “We found that in the U.S., it isn’t until after Easter, about a five-month period, that weight patterns even out,” study author Brian Wansink said in a press release. Your weight stabilizes from May to November before the cycle starts over again.
But that doesn’t mean you have to savor your beach body now and be doomed to holiday pudge that’ll take nearly half a year to fully shed.
“Instead of making a New Year’s resolution, make an October resolution,” Wansink suggests. “It’s easier to avoid holiday pounds than to lose them after they happen.”