November 20, 2018
2 min read

Defeat holiday weight gain with daily self-weighing

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Normal-weight adults who weighed themselves every day during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day holiday season did not gain weight, and those with overweight and obesity even lost some weight, according to study results presented here.

Sepideh Kaviani

“Holiday weight gain persists for months after the holiday season. Therefore, it might be one of the major contributors to annual weight gain and creeping obesity,” presenter Sepideh Kaviani, a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia and research assistant in the human nutrition lab in the university’s department of foods and nutrition, told Endocrine Today. “There are no studies to date that propose any approaches to prevent holiday weight gain. In our study, daily self-weighing ... was shown to be an effective intervention in preventing holiday weight gain.”

Kaviani and colleagues enrolled 111 adults with BMI at least 18.5 kg/m2 who were celebrating at least two holidays between November and January to assess whether daily self-weighing could prevent holiday weight gain. Participants were divided into a control group (n = 55; 41 women) who received no intervention and a daily self-weighing group (n = 56; 41 women). All participants underwent blood laboratory tests and DXA body composition assessment and had height, weight and blood pressure measured during the week leading up to Thanksgiving (baseline), the week after New Year’s Day (visit 2) and 14 weeks after visit 2 (follow-up).

Following the caloric titration method, members of the self-weighing group used a personal Wi-Fi scale to weigh themselves under the same conditions once a day between baseline and visit 2. The scale and a mobile app displayed a graph indicating a straight line for baseline weight and a separate line showing weight fluctuations. Participants were instructed to try not to gain weight; they were sent an email reminder if they missed 3 consecutive days of weighing. After visit 2, participants in the self-weighing could keep the scale and use it as they wished until the follow-up visit.

Kaviani reported a 94% retention rate with just below 2 days of self-weighing missed out of the 52 total study days. Researchers observed a significant difference between the groups in change in body weight between baseline and visit 2: The control group had a mean weight gain of 2.65 kg vs. the self-weighing group’s mean weight loss of 0.13 kg (P < .001). Between visit 2 and the follow-up visit, both groups lost a small, nonsignificant amount of weight, for a mean change in body weight between baseline and follow-up of 1.51 kg gained by the control group and 0.15 kg lost by the daily self-weighing group, which was significant between the groups, according to Kaviani.


Among participants with overweight or obesity, those in the control group gained an amount of weight similar to that gained by those with normal weight, whereas those in the daily self-weighing group lost a mean 1.46 kg vs. a nonsignificant 0.33-kg gain for those with normal weight (P = .01 between groups).

“Daily self-weighing with the caloric titration method is an effective tool for weight management,” Kaviani said. “With the success that was seen with daily self-weighing in preventing holiday weight gain, clinicians and nutritionists should value the involvement of individuals (especially ones with overweight and obesity) in their goal of weight-gain prevention during risky times of the year.” – by Jill Rollet


Kaviani S. T-OR-2004. Presented at: ObesityWeek 2018; Nov. 11-15, 2018; Nashville, Tenn.

Disclosure: Kaviani reports no relevant financial disclosures.