Avoiding holiday weight gain.

December 16, 2016

The average weight gain during the four-week holiday period is actually closer to one pound than the seven to 10 pounds that many people believe it is. Sounds like good news, right? Don't whip out your noise makers in cheer just yet. The downside is that people don't usually lose this one pound once they've gained it. The average weight gain per year is two pounds which breaks down to approximately 20 pounds in a decade!

Overweight people tend to gain more than this one pound. So if you are already trying to lose those extra pounds, then you're even more at risk. One study showed that overweight people gain about 5 pounds during the holidays.

What is it about holiday lights, the smell of gingerbread cookies and Christmas music that packs on these pounds? It's not necessarily one thing, but rather a combination of a whole bunch of factors including stress, alcohol, fried hors d'oeuvres, big celebratory meals, sweets and a reduction in exercise.

Here are a few tips to help keep the weight off during the holidays:

1. Have a safe comfort food

You've gotten through the Xmas office doughnuts and a holiday lunch with homemade mac and cheese. But then the stress of gifts and your bonus kick in at 3 pm. The celery and peanut butter you planned on having for snack may not do the trick. Don't get caught head first in that bowl of chocolates on your colleague's desk.

2. Wake up and get your exercise on

Research shows that women who worked out in the morning not only moved more the rest of the day, but they also responded less to pictures of tempting food in comparison to the days that they have a morning workout. Also, research from the National Weight Control Registry shows that people who have lost weight — and kept it off — regularly exercise about one hour a day. Schedule it in! Don't say, "I'll get back to that in January." How are you sweating today?

3.Out of sight, out of mind

Research shows that when food is in our line-of-sighe, we're much more likely to eat it. So, get out of the kitchen, away from the buffet and find a game to play with the family.

Information Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC