Between summer bods and holiday eating sprees, it sometimes feels like there’s year-round pressure to either lose pounds or maintain a certain weight. That doesn't always happen — the average American gains about 5 pounds over the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. So, if we want to avoid weight gain in the winter and look great in the summer, when exactly should we begin a weight loss resolution during the year?

A new study recently used wireless scales from participants in the United States, Germany, and Japan to measure weight patterns related to holiday weight gain. The research shows that the weight you gain in the next 3 months this holiday season could potentially take over 5 months to lose, so if you want to be thin this spring, and going into summer, start your plan in October.

“Everyone gains weight over the holidays — Americans, Germans, Japanese," co-author Brian Wansink told Cornell University’s Food & Brand Lab. “Instead of making a New Year’s Resolution, make an October resolution. It’s easier to avoid holiday pounds altogether than to lose them after they happen.”

Researchers found that in the US, weight patterns begin rising around Thanksgiving and peak around Christmas and the New Year. Germany and Japan also showed a peak in weight for New Year’s — the participants’ weight actually rose within 10 days after Christmas Day in all three countries,

Additionally, study participants in Germany weighed the most around Christmas and New Year’s. In Japan, people were most heavy in April during Golden Week, which is a major Japanese holiday.

Think you’ll put on some holiday weight in 2016? Chances are you won’t be able to lose it until Easter 2017. If that doesn’t motivate you to start reaching your weight loss goal now, nothing will.

Source: Helander EE, Wansink B, Chieh A. Weight Gain Over The Holidays In Three Countries. The New England Journal Of Medicine. 2016.

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