When it comes to Thanksgiving, the assumption is that the turkey, sweet potato pie and apple pie turn into unwanted points that never come off. For many, this makes Thanksgiving a scarier holiday than Halloween.
Withings study shows it’s turkeys that get stuffed on Thanksgiving and not humans.
However, according to a new study by Withings, America’s biggest manufacturer of smart scales, the majority of users do not gain pounds over Thanksgiving and most either maintain or lose weight. Withings also found that such is the fear of weight gain, a large proportion of people avoid the scales on Black Friday.
The study compared weight and weigh-ins from previous years and also compared patterns in various states of the nation. The results were surprising.
How did Withings Figure this Out?
To see how America dealt with weight during Thanksgiving and the lead up to the festive holiday season, Withings looked at anonymous data from 600,000 users of its smart scales and 200,000 users of its smartwatches that track a range of health statistics including steps/activity levels, heart rate and sleep patterns. Withings looked at data from the weeks prior and post-Thanksgiving for the past three years for those living in the United States.
It’s Okay to Make the After Dinner Walk a Bit Shorter
For the fitness or health enthusiast, who believes they can outwalk or outrun any Turkey weight, they are mistaken. The study found there is little correlation between weight gain, loss r maintenance and a person’s activity levels.
Looking at data from the first of September to the last day of November from 2017 to 2019, it was shown that there was virtually no difference in weight change for those recording 1,000 steps a day and 15,000 steps a day or any number of daily steps in between. With this information, know it’s okay to enjoy the holiday and favorite foods without having to fit in extra steps.
Americans Shouldn’t Fret About an Extra Slice of Pie.
Though any weight put on during the Thanksgiving weeks is not going to go away by getting a lot of steps in from a walk or a run — the good news is that the majority of people (56%) either lose or maintain their weight during the Thanksgiving timeframe.
However, note that the minority of people who do put on weight during the Thanksgiving weeks are likely to gain a pound and are at a 70% chance of keeping that pound throughout the holiday season and past New Year’s. Though the minority of people might gain a small bit of weight, it’s clear that one big meal isn’t enough to cause a noticeable difference.
That leaves a predicament, who wants to know if they are in the majority who don’t gain weight, and who wants to find out if they are part of the minority who does gain weight? Withings looked into that as well.
Americans Fear the Scale After Thanksgiving
Despite the fact that the majority of people either lose or maintain their weight during the weeks of Thanksgiving. Withings found that Americans find ignorance is bliss. After analyzing over a million weigh-ins, Withings found that people are not inclined to weigh themselves the day after Thanksgiving.
In fact, people who weigh themselves regularly are 29% less likely to hit the scale again the day after Thanksgiving. In comparison, those who do not weigh themselves regularly are only 19% less likely to take a weight measurement the day after the holiday.
However, scale enthusiasts are still two and a half more times likely to step on a scale the day after Thanksgiving than those who don’t. The study appeared to find that most Americans go by the motto: See no weight, hear no weight, speak no weight.
If weight control is a goal, it might be helpful to look at another study by Withings that was done in 2017. That study found that those who step on the scale more often lost four times more weight than those who avoided the scale. A bit more food for thought when deciding whether or not to weigh in after Thanksgiving.
Which States Tip the Scales?
It appears that southern cooking is as good as advertised as southern states led the nation in the average of those who gained a pound or more during the Thanksgiving timeframe. The national average of people who gained more than a pound was below half (41.65%).
One state that might want to lay off the sweet potato pie is South Carolina. The Palmetto state led the way with an average of 44.77% of residents gaining a pound or more. Georgia, Kentucky and North Carolina fall just behind South Carolina at the top of the pack for gaining weight.
The only non-southern state to be in the top five recording highest average weight gain was Nebraska (must be the corn!). Joining Nebraska in the gained weight category are Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Maryland. They were the east coast representatives that were above the national average for states who put on a point or more during the Thanksgiving weeks.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, states on the west coast seem to do better than the southern states with average weight gains on the low end of the scale (excuse the pun). Washington led the way, with only 39.68% of its residents gaining a pound or more, with California, Oregon and Utah not far behind. Connecticut makes its fellow eastern states jealous as the only non-west coast state to be in the top five.
Final Thoughts Before Taking the First Bite
While Thanksgiving may be different this year because of COVID-19, it’s good to know that for the majority of Americans, weight gain doesn’t have to be one of the things to fear this year. Instead, focus on spending time with loved ones and don’t feel guilty for filling up on a second course.
The full Withings study can be found on the Withings blog here.
Image Credit: karolina grabowska; pexels