Premier global nutrition company, Herbalife Nutrition, today released new findings from its Asia Pacific Holiday Eating Survey 2019, conducted with 5,500 respondents across Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The survey findings revealed that Christmas and New Year are among the major holidays that pose the greatest challenges for consumers to continue exercising and eating healthily during the festive celebrations.
“Christmas and New Year are when families come together to celebrate over good food, yet many tend to abandon their healthy eating and fitness goals during this time of year,” said Stephen Conchie, senior vice president and managing director, Herbalife Nutrition Asia Pacific. “We have uncovered some of the biggest challenges consumers face during the holidays, with the hope of helping them identify their own habits to be able to maintain their goals during the festive seasons.”
As a result of overeating and exercising less around the holidays, Asia Pacific consumers found themselves gaining an average of 3 kilograms in weight following the Christmas and New Year holidays. To lose the weight, over half (54 percent) of Asia Pacific consumers would eat more healthily and 46 percent would make an effort to exercise more once the festivities are over.
Despite the efforts, close to one in four (24 percent) Asia Pacific consumers did not manage to lose the weight they gained after the festive season, showing that maintaining healthy lifestyle habits throughout the festive season could be a better way to support long-term well-being.
To aid weight management during Christmas and the New Year, Herbalife Nutrition recommends:
- Eat before the celebration: when you are hungry, it is tempting to start feasting as soon as you arrive at the party. To prevent overeating, snack on healthy, protein-rich foods such as unsalted baked almonds, a protein bar or yogurt before heading to a dinner party.
- Focus on lean protein plus vegetables: instead of carbohydrate-heavy and rice-based dishes, select mains that include lean protein or salads and vegetables.
- Eat small portions, slowly: focus on the quality and not the quantity of food and take smaller portions and eat slowly. Not only does this satisfy your craving for festive favorites, it will help your brain register when you are full before you start to indulge in more.
- Limit your alcohol and sweetened beverage intake: consuming excessive amounts of alcohol or sweetened beverages is one of the biggest causes of weight gain. To prevent this, limit your intake of such beverages and opt for plain water or unsweetened drinks instead.
When comparing the holiday eating and exercise habits of consumers across Asia Pacific during Christmas:
- Philippines had largest percentage of consumers (94 percent) who tend to eat more food than usual during the holidays, followed by Hong Kong (92 percent) and Japan (89 percent) — all ranking higher than the Asia Pacific average of 86 percent.
- Consumers in the Philippines also eat less healthily than usual (77 percent) and postpone healthy eating (67 percent), compared to other markets in the region.
When it comes to celebrating the New Year:
- Philippines also topped the list with the largest percentage of consumers (94 percent) who tend to consume more food than usual, followed by Thailand (93 percent), Indonesia (88 percent) and Japan (88 percent).
- Consumers in the Philippines also displayed the highest tendencies to eat less healthily than usual (78 percent) and postpone healthy eating (66 percent) until after the New Year.
While consumers are eating more during Christmas and the New Year, close to half (49 percent) of Asia Pacific consumers said that they felt guilty for eating less healthily during the holidays.
Asia Pacific consumers shared that alcohol, stuffed turkey, cakes and pastries were the hardest foods to give up during Christmas, while desserts, rice cakes and alcohol were the hardest foods to give up during the New Year.
Exercise Takes a Backseat for Asia Pacific Consumers During Holiday Seasons
When it comes to exercise, over three in five said that they tend to exercise less when Christmas and the New Year come around, while over half (56 percent) would postpone their exercise regime until after the holidays.
Across the region, Indonesia and Vietnam stood out with consumers who were less likely to exercise as Christmas (73 percent) and the New Year (73 percent) draw near. In addition, consumers in the Philippines (60 percent) were most likely to postpone their exercise regime until after Christmas, while consumers in Vietnam (68 percent) were most likely to postpone their exercise regime until after the New Year.