(NAPSI)—The holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving and culminating on January 1, is a tough time of year for those wanting to lead a healthy lifestyle. In fact, a survey of 2,000 Americans who celebrate a winter holiday found that they are abandoning their attempts to be healthy—and half will break their diet to give in to the temptation of holiday food.
The results of the second annual "Writing Off the End of the Year" survey found that 41 percent use the holidays as an excuse to postpone being healthy, compared to 47 percent the previous year.
The research, commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition, found that for those taking a "start again in January" approach, a third start postponing their healthy habits by mid-November.
With so many tasty treats tempting people to stray from their diets, food is a major reason why 59 percent of respondents said it was hardest to stay healthy during the winter holiday season.
The opportunity to overindulge is often too great for people and 44 percent admit to having eaten more than one dessert at a meal, while 36 percent have eaten more than one holiday dinner in a day and 30 percent say they've had to undo a button on their pants because of eating too much.
In fact, the average person expects to gain six pounds during the holiday season, according to both the 2018 and this year's survey. And the survey found that three in 10 actually plan to eat more during the holidays—specifically because their New Year's resolution is to be healthier.
In addition to overindulging, not getting enough exercise was another reason people might be piling on the pounds during the holidays. Twenty-seven percent of the people surveyed say they exercise less during the holidays—and of those, the average time spent working out each week was two hours less than usual.
"Enjoying the holidays doesn't mean you have to completely abandon your attempts to be healthy and make healthy choices," says Dr. John Agwunobi, co-president and chief health and nutrition officer at Herbalife Nutrition. "Healthy snacking is a useful tool in combating overindulgence. Consuming protein-rich snacks before heading out to a holiday feast can help make you feel full, so that you don't overindulge."
But with January comes a "new year, new me" attitude and results found that 33 percent are planning to make a New Year's resolution—compared to 34 percent last year.
Top New Year's Resolutions for 2020
1. Exercise more
2. Eat healthier
3. Save more money
4. Focus on self-care
5. Make new friends
Dr. Agwunobi adds, "Staying on track can be hard especially if you are tackling it on your own. Developing a support system of people who know your goals, strengths and weaknesses can be extremely beneficial in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially during the challenging times of the year."
As people transition to the new year and begin setting their 2020 healthy goals, Agwunobi recommends resolving to take action by making little lifestyle changes. It takes three weeks to make a habit, so start with something you know you can achieve: add fruits and vegetables to every meal, go for a walk, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car farther from the door and walk.
Create specific and achievable goals and resolutions. Remember, this is a lifestyle change that can lead to sustainable, lasting results. "Crash diets" and gym overload are temporary and not sustainable long term. For example, if your goal is to start running, don't shoot for a marathon right away. Start with short jogs and challenge yourself by signing up for a 5K, 10K or an appropriate event for your abilities. The incremental successes will build your physical strength, your endurance and confidence. And remember to celebrate your achievements.
Happy New Year!