How To Avoid Holiday Weight Gain
by Lynn Bode
The holiday season is undoubtedly a time for rejoicing. Unfortunately, the average adult does a
little too much celebrating during this time of year, which leads to extra baggage when the New
Year rings in. Festivities that include indulging in extra helpings, snacking on seasonal treats,
and little to no workout time all contribute to the increase in dieters in January.
So, this holiday
season buck the trends and avoid the Seasonal Seven (the average weight most of us will gain between
Thanksgiving and the New Year). That's one trend you don't want to participate in!
Even though this time of year may bring upon additional stresses and challenges, there are ways
to find balance and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Though at times it may seem impossible to bypass
the season's traditional foods, there are many ways to partake in the fun without increasing your
pant size. The festivities don't have to be eliminated or avoided. You can have a fabulous time
while also maintaining your weight and your fitness regimen.
Moderation is the word of the season. It's the secret to achieving a fun but also healthy holiday
time. With a moderate approach both to what you eat (or don't eat) and how much exercise you do
(or don't do), you can avoid packing on weight AND also partake in all the fun of this time of year.
So this season, get a head start on the New Year instead of starting January with extra pounds to
Here are some tips to help you during those hectic holiday weeks:
- Create a plan ahead of time. Before the holidays sneak up on you, create a plan for incorporating
fitness and good nutrition into your daily routine. Evaluate your holiday schedule and then
determine how much time you will realistically have available to devote to working out.
- If you work in an office setting be prepared for the deluge of guilty treats your co-workers
and other business associates will graciously want to share. Stash your own healthy snacks in
your desk so you won't be tempted to overindulge when your grumbling stomach demands a 3:00
- Don't put your fitness goals on hold until the New Year. If you can't exercise as often
during this time period as you normally do, adjust appropriately. Don't use the excuse that
since you don't have time for your full workout you just won't workout at all. Instead accept
your limited availability and simply reduce the frequency and/or duration of your exercise.
It's much better to cut your fitness time in half than to completely eliminate it.
- When attending a holiday function, try to eat ahead of time to lessen your hunger. If the
party is in the evening, eat breakfast, lunch and a snack before hand (just as you would on
any other day). Since you have eaten meals earlier in the day, you'll be less tempted to go
overboard and eat everything in sight. However, if you instead starve all day long attempting
to "save up" all your calories for the party, you will be so famished by the time it begins
that it will be difficult not to overeat.
- Schedule your workouts. Mark them on the calendar and set-aside time to complete them. Consider
them as important as any other appointment or event you have marked on your calendar.
- At holiday dinners, skip the gravy, dressings, and high-calorie condiments.
- On days that you really lack motivation or simply do not have time for your complete exercise
routine, commit to do just 10 minutes of exercise. You'll probably end up doing more than that
once you get started. Even if you only end up completing 10 minutes, that is still a lot better
than zero minutes.
- When at a party, scout out healthy food options rather than doing a grab and run on all
the unhealthy selections. For example, vegetable sticks (without dip), fruit pieces, plain chicken
pieces, etc. Then move on to some of the less healthy (but yummy) offerings. You will be less
likely to overindulge on these foods if you have already filled-up on some of the healthier
items. Yet, you will not feel deprived or unsatisfied.
- Exercise at home. You'll be more inclined to follow-through on your exercise commitment
if you don't have to drive somewhere to do your workout. Plus, you won't waste any time on driving,
parking, the locker room or waiting to use equipment. Working out at home requires very little
equipment (it even can be equipment-free) and is quite inexpensive.
- Avoid wasting calories on alcoholic beverages. The average alcoholic drink contains 150
- 200 calories per glass. Indulge in just 2-3 drinks and you've drunk the equivalent calories
of an entire meal. If you partake in these beverages, choose wisely. For example, instead of
having a full glass of wine, try mixing half a glass of wine with sparkling water or with a
diet soda. This will help cut your calories in half.
- When running errands or shopping, be sure to pack some healthy snacks to have on-hand. Then
after you work-up a big appetite, you won't be tempted to grab something at the mall food court
or the fast food restaurant on the way home.
- Don't linger at the buffet or in the kitchen. If you loiter in close proximity to all the
guilty temptations, you'll struggle to keep from unconsciously shoveling food into your mouth.
- Focus on socializing. Remember one of the great things about the holidays is spending time
with friends and family. During get-togethers spend the majority of time sharing conversation
instead of sharing desserts.
Hopefully these tips will help you find a balance between staying fit and also enjoying the fun
of the season. Remember, moderation is the key. Have a great holiday season!
About the Author:
Lynn Bode is a certified personal trainer specializing in Internet-based fitness programs. She
founded Workouts For You, which provides affordable online exercise programs that are custom designed
for each individual. Visit:
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