Science says this week is the slimmest you'll be all year

But the remaining 10 weeks of the calendar all lead up to our annual heaviest point on the scales

Science says this week is the slimmest you'll be all year

[Flickr/Alan Dow]

If you are the kind of person who, all things being equal, strives to stay on top of your body weight, this time of year is bittersweet. According to research produced by a Cornell University scientist, the first week of October is traditionally the seven-day period of the year during which people reach their annual low when standing on the scales. The bad news is that every week now until the end of the year will see those numbers go up and up.

Writing in The New England Journal of Medicine, Prof Brian Wansink blamed the end of year ushering in a series of eating opportunities, ranging from Halloween pecking, Thanksgiving gorging, and Christmas and New Year drinking as for why people tend to gain weight towards the end of the year. And worse still, statistically the extra kilos cling on until well into the early months of the new year.

“Anything that happens in these next 10 weeks, on average, take about five months to come off,” Wansink told The New York Times.

The study, completed with Elina Helander of Tampere University in Finland and Angela Chieh of Withings, a producer of health-monitoring technologies that are connected to the Internet, used wireless scales to track the weight of participants across three countries. Starting in August 2012, over a period of twelve months, 1,800 Americans, 800 Germans, and 400 Japanese men and women transmitted their bodyweight details every time they stepped onto their scales to the researchers, who tracked the data.

While each of the countries varied, one common thread was found in all of them: men and women tend to gain weight in the 10 days leading up to holidays and religious festivals.

“Whether it be office parties, whether it be receptions, whether it be your friends’ parties, or it could be you just buying a lot of stuff and eating while you’re preparing things, there’s this real ramp up to almost every holidays,” Wansink said.

In both the US and Germany, the end of September and the beginning of October represented the rock bottom, with the peak coming around January 1st, while in Japan the peak was linked to early May, during the country’s Golden Week that begins on April 29th. The average difference between the participants’ peak and lowest weights was 1% for Germans and 0.7% for Americans and Japanese.

“Instead of trying to come up with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, it’s a whole lot better to maybe have an October 1st resolution to gain less in the first place,” said Wansink.

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