Holiday weight management by successful weight losers and normal weight individuals

J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Jun;76(3):442-8. doi: 10.1037/0022-006X.76.3.442.


This study compared weight control strategies during the winter holidays among successful weight losers (SWL) in the National Weight Control Registry and normal weight individuals (NW) with no history of obesity. SWL (n = 178) had lost a mean of 34.9 kg and had kept > or = 13.6 kg off for a mean of 5.9 years. NW (n = 101) had a body mass index of 18.5-24.9 kg/m(2). More SWL than NW reported plans to be extremely strict in maintaining their usual dietary routine (27.3% vs. 0%) and exercise routine (59.1% vs. 14.3%) over the holidays. Main effects for group indicated that SWL maintained greater exercise, greater attention to weight and eating, greater stimulus control, and greater dietary restraint, both before and during the holidays. A Group x Time interaction indicated that, over the holidays, attention to weight and eating declined significantly more in SW than in NW. More SWL (38.9%) than NW (16.7%) gained > or = 1 kg over the holidays, and this effect persisted 1 month later (28.3% and 10.7%, respectively). SWL worked harder than NW did to manage their weight, but they appeared more vulnerable to weight gain during the holidays.

MeSH terms

  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Holidays*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Psychology
  • Reference Values
  • Registries
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss*