TODAY   |  November 26, 2012

How much holiday weight do Americans gain?

As the holiday party season begins, maintaining your weight amid savory side dishes and decadent desserts can be a challenge. TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer shares five surprising facts about how the holidays can affect your waistline.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> gain. this time of year can present plenty of diet challenges so here is w surprising stats is "today" nutritionist and contributor joy bauer. the amount of weight gain during the holidays, as much as we think or less.

>> i think i'll make a lot of people happy. between thanksgiving and new years's we gain on average only one pound.

>> no.

>> one measly pound.

>> people are so surprised because you assume with all the fattening holiday fare we put on five, ten pounds. not so. the only downside, and this is according to research in the "new england journal of medicine," we don't take it off, so what happens is we gain one pound this year and another pound the year after. so it's important to really pay attention . forgo the stuff we can get year rou round.

>> do they --

>> it is a little bit depressing. now it turns negative so for regular american exercises, december is at its all-time low, and that's a bummer because exercise accomplishes so much. of course it burns some of the extra food calories that we're eating. it also helps to de-stress and a lot of people are caught up in holiday chaos, and to me i think the best part about exercise during this season is that it helps you to press the reset button after a night of really overindulging, and gyms are pretty empty so if you show up you can get on pieces of equipment that you want.

>> what's our biggest challenge around the holidays because it seems like we're at a holiday parties, a lot of feasts and grazing before dinner. right, and at the office place there's sweet treats everywhere. did a poll on and our viewers said it's the excessive food and abundance of holiday parties, and it makes sense because there's food everywhere. you're not paying attention.

>> any type of foods?

>> i think people tend to pick the sweet treats as the number one go it to but after that it's the savory sides and hors d'oeuvres. they love them as well.

>> why are parties difficult for us?

>> well, when we eat in groups, six or more people, we don't pay attention . first of all, there are food pushers in the bunch. eat a little bit of this, eat a little bit of this and you end up gobbling 75% more than you want.

>> 38 billion calories in egg nog last year.

>> we sold about 200 million pounds.

>> drink up, everybody.