How to STOP The Weight Gain Cycle

One of my personal training clients told me during our last check in that he’s already a little concerned about the holidays derailing his weight loss goals.  He was coming at it from more of a place of proactivity than from a place of stress or anxiety.  I don’t feel like anyone should have anxiety about weight gain during the holidays.


That said, it is when it tends to happen.  There is nothing wrong with recognizing that and making an intelligent plan.  According to the CDC, the average American gained 15lbs over the last 20 years.  This study ended in 2014 and I think we know that the trendline didn’t get better during the pandemic.  


It turns out, there is actually an annual cycle to most folks’ weight gain.  It isn’t a steady average gain across the year.  We aren’t constantly gaining weight.  Typically, we’re gaining during some periods but then maintaining that weight gain during other periods without enough weight loss to make up for the gains.  According to a study from the New England Journal of Medicine, most annual weight gain occurs from the week after Halloween until right after the New Year.  This cycle is predictable and beatable. 


It usually looks something like this:


January through May are periods of weight maintenance or slight weight loss.  Most people basically just stopped doing what made them gain weight rapidly the previous holiday season but otherwise didn’t effect major change in the other direction.


June, July, and August continue to be months of maintenance or slight weight gain.  Even though there is more stuff to do outside, summer BBQ’s have a way of sneaking in a ton of extra calories.  It’s also easier to get sucked into more mid week drinking.  


The September and October period tends to be similar to the new year period.  More maintenance with maybe slight weight loss. 


October through the end of the year is when it all falls apart.  It starts with several weeks of having peanut butter cups marketed to us, followed by them being in our houses in large bags.  Then thanksgiving, then holidays, all revolving around less activity and tons of sweets and alcohol.  


Maybe your year looks different than this.  The key takeaway is that we have periods of weight maintenance, periods of weight gain, and periods of weight loss that typically cannot keep up.


At On Target Fitness, we DISRUPT this patternWe want to turn weight maintenance times into healthy weight loss times and we want to turn weight gain times into reasonable maintenance periods.  This is obviously until you’re a healthy weight, which means you’re focused on getting fitter at the same weight.  


How does it work?


January through May, we help you raise your standards.  With the expert guidance of a personal trainer, the results are quicker and easier.  In so many ways, you pay me to save you time.  You don’t have to feel like you’re busting your butt and not getting anywhere.  


Summer, I coach clients through sticking to better choices at BBQ’s and not letting themselves turn into total alcoholics for 3 months.  I love Summer.  I understand all of its temptations.  If we can show off all our hard work from the first half of the year and maintain it, that’s a win.


In the Fall, we’re back in hustle mode, raising standards.  With a little encouragement, Halloween is more of a blip on the radar and we can keep you in weight loss mode until Thanksgiving.


Once we’re in the holidays, we help clients maintain their weight with our “Beat the Holidaze” challenge.  It’s a maintenance based challenge that ensures that the holidays don’t derail a year’s worth of progress.  If you have lots of momentum, and you have a good plan to maintain, it is easy to enjoy the holidays without any deprivation, stress, or falling off track.  On the other hand, if you are habituated to using sweets or alcohol as a crutch to feel better, the holidays tend to be even more stressful and more harmful.  Keep treats on the actual holiday, not every day for a month.  Take an extra walk after the holiday meal.  


All of this sets you up to make fitness gains instead of weight gains year after year.  You can disrupt the normal patterns while still enjoying summer, the holidays, or anything else you want to enjoy.  Overindulging, abusing, and/or self destructing is not the same thing as enjoying.  The real advantage of having a personal trainer in your corner is being able to focus your efforts based on your long term strategy to get in shape, feel confident, and have all day energy.


When you are ready to see if we’re a good fit, fill out the form at the top or bottom of this page and I will be in touch : )


Serving Portsmouth, Kittery, and the broader Seacoast community, we help people finally get in shape, feel confident, and have all day energy, even if getting everything done is a constant struggle.


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