By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s that time of year again when our waistlines tend to grow, but a new study finds that there may be a simple way to avoid packing on the pounds that doesn’t involve more exercise.

People gain on average 0.9 to 2.2 pounds a year, with up to 50-percent of that occurring during holidays. And once we gain that holiday weight, we rarely lose it.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom wanted to see if a simple weight management intervention targeted specifically around Christmas could prevent that weight gain.

They asked participants to record their weights at least twice a week and gave them a list of holiday foods and how much exercise it would take to burn off those calories. For example, it would take 21 minutes of running to burn off one mince pie.

They found that those in the intervention group tended to gain one pound less over Christmas than those who were not.

The researchers admit this was a small study with some limitations, but it certainly suggests that if we’re all a little more mindful over the holidays, we may be able to avoid significant weight gain.

Dr. Mallika Marshall


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