During festive occasions. It’s well-known that the worst time of the year for the sale of weight control programs is the period leading up to the festive season at Christmas. The best time, on the other hand, is immediately after New Year. For most people, festive periods— including Christmas, Easter, birthdays, re-unions and other cultural and individual celebrations—are a time when enjoyment is likely to over-rule moderation. The occasion is thus often used as a justification for indulgence, with a view to ‘making up for this’ at some later stage. From a practical perspective, it is probably more appropriate to try to ensure there are no gains in body fat—even if there are no losses—during these periods! If maintenance can ensure stability, it becomes more feasible, both psychologically and physiologically, to continue with improvements at a later stage.
Retirement from sport. Organised sport can be a motivator for regular physical activity. In the case of top level sports such as the football codes, the level of activity required for performance is high, with training sometimes occurring for 1-3 hours per day, 6-7 days a week. A high energy intake is necessary to fuel this increased energy output. Eating at this rate could then be expected to become a habit (e.g. meals mean 2-3 big helpings; daytime cues such as time of the day can often condition an eating response, the body becomes used to late evening snacks). Retirement from sporting activity often takes place suddenly, with a drastic decrease in energy levels. If there is a maintenance of energy intake, increases in body fatness might be expected. De-conditioning is, therefore, needed at sports retirement with extra education for the retiring athlete. This has currently become part of the employment package of some US professional sporting codes and is likely to be more so in the future, as clubs face greater prospects of litigation. Meanwhile, a decrease in sporting involvement should be seen as a potential risk factor for increases in body fatness calling for increases in compensatory activity levels, or education based around decreased energy input.