Holiday Challenge 2022

— Written By and last updated by Meghan Lassiter
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Once again, North Carolina State University and N.C. Cooperative Extension are offering the Holiday Challenge. This is an online program to help prevent holiday weight gain.

Each year many Americans gain between one and five pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year. While this might not sound like much, this weight gain accounts for 51% of people’s weight gain for the whole year. The problem is most people never manage to lose those extra pounds and year after year it adds up.

It’s the Eat Smart, Move More, Maintain, Don’t Gain! Holiday Challenge. It’s all virtual and you can participate on your computer or cell phone. Best of all, it’s FREE. This seven-week program provides strategies and resources that can help participants maintain their weight during the holiday season.

This is the 16th year the Holiday Challenge has been offered. Any adult over 18 years of age with a valid email address can join. The challenge is available online between November 14th and December 31. You can sign up anytime between now and the end of the year, but the sooner you sign up, the more lessons you’ll receive.

As in the past, this year’s program features weekly newsletters, daily tips, healthy holiday recipes, and weekly challenges. These will all be delivered to your email inbox. Topics discussed include how to survive a holiday party, manage holiday stress, and stay active during the winter. There are also downloadable tools you can use, such as weight logs, and food and activity journals.

There is additional support through social media if you like. You can share your progress through a private Facebook community. There will be recipes and tips on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter. You can participate as little or as much as you would like to. The past years have shown that the more people participate, the better their outcome will be.

The 2021 Holiday Challenge was the largest and most successful since the program began in 2006. Over 44,675 people from all 50 states, residents from all 100 North Carolina counties, and 28 additional countries participated in last year’s online Holiday Challenge. Last year 32% of those who joined the Holiday Challenge were from North Carolina. In 2021, Brunswick County had 203 participants. That number is up from 2020. Yeah!

Evaluations from past years show that the program works! When asked, 70% of last year’s participants reported they were able to maintain their weight during the Holiday Challenge. Some folks (22%) actually lost weight during this time!

You can sign up online at Eat Smart, Move More and enter your email address. All personal information and addresses will be kept confidential. While you’re at the website, check out all the other wonderful tools and information available from the Eat Smart, Move More NC team.

The Holiday Challenge is provided by Eat Smart, Move, More Weigh Less and Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes, partnership programs between NC State University and the NC Division of Public Health. These programs are part of Eat Smart, Move More NC, a statewide program working to increase healthy eating and physical activity opportunities wherever North Carolinians live, learn, earn, play and pray. Locally, N.C. Cooperative Extension in Brunswick County is a partner in this program.

The Holiday Challenge is open to everyone – those with a few pounds to lose or those already at a healthy weight and just want to stay there. We are all in this together, let’s maintain and not gain this year!

Cheryle Syracuse wrote this article and more similar ones for the Family and Consumer Sciences Column in the Brunswick Beacon. Syracuse is an FCS team member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center, 910.253.2610 or by email at