The Holidays are the time of year when people get extremely nervous about the scale moving in the upwards direction while trying to enjoy festive occasions with family and friends. As we all know it’s a time filled with socializing, alcohol, and of course, lots of food! What many don’t realize is that the “holiday gain” starts around October, at Halloween, and goes straight into the New Year. In those 6 weeks it is quite easy and doesn’t take much to gain the weight but extremely hard and takes a lot of time to take off.
Guilt, feeling like you’re cheating, failing, and being remorseful are all common feelings people experience over the holidays. This guide will lead you in the right direction and enable you to head into them armed and ready! And with some helpful tips and great strategies, you can sail through the holiday season with ease and no worries over eating.
It’s best to keep your goals realistic. Keep these strategies in mind and try to uphold them to avoid packing on unwanted pounds.
My BEST advice – make your goal to MAINTAIN and not GAIN. To come out of the holiday season the same size you went in to it is a WIN! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your diet. Adapting a healthy lifestyle is the key to success. Being consistent and not feeling like you need to restrict yourself will help immensely in the long run.
CONTROL your alcohol intake. While most of us love to have a delicious glass of wine or a cocktail, be aware that alcohol is the first thing that your body burns before any food. This takes a long time and any food you eat while you are drinking will be stored as fat. I am NOT telling you not to drink, but I encourage you to eat healthy throughout the day so you don’t binge on fried, calorie dense foods at your gathering. Also keep in mind that the mixers and juices contain a lot of calories and add up fast so keep drinks “clear” – soda water, tonic or wine will be your best bets!
Plan ahead. If you know you are going to a party focus on lean protein such as grilled chicken breast, egg whites, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, fish, shrimp, deli turkey or tuna fish. Incorporate fruits and vegetables the remainder of the day. It may be hard, but you will be able to treat yourself to some yummy food without the guilt and without sacrificing your waistline later on.
Drink a lot of water! Aim for a gallon a day. Flavor it with lemons, limes, berries, cucumber or crystal light. Drink up! Fill up a gallon jug and drink from that you so that you can see your progress. The more water that goes in will be flushed out. You will also be more energized from being hydrated during the day.
Eat healthy most of the time but don’t limit yourself from having treats. This leads to bingeing since eating “good” 100% of the time is beyond difficult. Everything in moderation! Choose your desserts wisely and savor them. Take a few bites and move on. The most satisfying bites are the first few. You will remove the guilt without any of the pleasure.
- Fill up on fiber. Snacking on vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains will keep you fuller longer. In addition, these types of foods have more volume in them so you can eat more of them as well as them keeping you full.
- Try to keep ACTIVE during the holidays. If you can’t make it to the gym or do your usual workout, go for a walk, incorporate exercises that don’t need equipment or climb your stairs. Just keep moving! Any workout is better than none!
- Take the stairs not the elevator. Park your car a bit farther away then you would normally. This is will ensure you are getting some steps.
- Walk or run to somewhere local in town that is not too far away. You will get your errand and workout done in the same time.
- The below workout will only take 15 minutes and can be done anywhere. It’s simple, quick and effective. You will feel so much better going to that party both mentally and physically!
Perform 5 rounds of 10-15 reps 3 times a week. Get creative and use water bottles, soup cans or a bag of rice for weight if you don’t have dumbbells.
For full video on how to perform click on each exercise below.
Most importantly, give up on being perfect. The holidays are stressful enough. Life is meant to be enjoyed with friends, family and co workers. Be mindful, keep things in moderation and do the best you can. Remember, to MAINTAIN is a GAIN!