How the holidays affect waistlines

According to a University of Oklahoma study, students gain 1-2 pounds, on average, over the holiday break — as opposed to the 5-8 pounds the average person believes he or she gains over the holidays, according to a New York Times survey.

One contributor to holiday weight gain is overeating.

“I think holiday weight gain has turned into an expected, yet unfortunate, part of our holiday season,” said Andrew Hyder, a junior at Weber State University majoring in sociology. “It is expected, to the point where people think it is strange when someone doesn’t want to overeat.”

While a pound or two is a small amount of weight to gain, studies have shown that most people who gain weight over the holidays do not lose that weight. This extra weight can have potential long-term consequences if not lost.

“I think if people think about how it affects them in the long run, they may have an easier time not having seconds on dessert,” Hyder said.

The UO study also found that students who have higher BMIs — a measure of body fat based on height, weight and sex — classified as overweight or obese, gained one pound more than students classified with a normal BMI.

Some students said the holidays do not affect their weight.

“You know, it’s not a problem for me,” said Zach Olsen, a WSU senior majoring in English. “I don’t know why. Maybe I just have a good metabolism.”

Other students suggested that holiday weight gain is hard to avoid.

“During the holidays, there is always more food and snacks around my house and everywhere I go,” said Andrew Mecham, a WSU senior majoring in criminal justice. “It makes it difficult not to eat more during holidays.”

There are ways to help combat holiday weight gain. One of these ways is to stay active.

“Try to find an indoor gym,” Olsen said. “I like to run, but it’s hard to run outside when it’s cold. I get a sore throat from the cold air hitting the back of my throat. Weber has a great indoor track that is free for students to use.”

The Swenson Gym is free for students with a Wildcard to use. The facility not only has an indoor track, but a pool, a climbing wall and other workout equipment.

WSU also offers free group classes to students with their Wildcard. Some of the group workouts offered include yoga, indoor cycling and cardio boxing. Information for the Swenson Gym and the group exercise schedule can be found on the WSU Campus Recreation page.

“Remember, when it comes to holiday eating, know your limits,” Olsen said. “If you don’t know what your limits are, I guess you will someday.”