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  • 5 TIPS TO AVOID HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN

    Thanksgiving may be over but between leftovers, family/friends visiting, traveling, etc. the eating and drinking may still be going on. Whether this is true for you or not - I want to help you get back on the healthy, active track as soon as you can. The easy thing to do is to wave the white flag and just succumb to the greatness (and by “greatness”, I mean all the extra sugary treats, drinks, high calorie/fat foods) the Holiday season brings and start fresh come January. But is it really worth it? Is it worth sabotaging all the hard work you put into your workouts? Your healthy eating?

    You may have already felt the wrath of Thanksgiving if you ate foods you are not used to eating. Did you notice how you felt after you ate? That next day? The foods we eat are supposed to make us feel good.

    I’m not saying, you cannot enjoy some of your favorite foods but it is the over consumption and the continuing day after day of these foods that gets troublesome. The more you get used to eating higher calorie/fat/sugar foods - the harder it will be to stop. Same thing goes with working out. The longer you go without working out - the harder it is to get back into the groove.

    You can still enjoy the Holiday’s WITHOUT losing sight of your personal health/fitness goals. I don’t want January to come around (and it will be here before you know it) and you are beating yourself up by needing to get back in shape and wanting to feel better. By following the simple tips I have provided you below, you will feel and look your best hitting up all your Holiday parties and start the New Year NOT having to feel like you are starting over. AND the best part - you can use these tips all year round!!

    TIPS TO AVOIDING HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN

    (1) STAY ACTIVE

    Keep your workouts on your schedule. Don’t let shopping for presents or holiday parties take the place of you burning those calories. On days that you really lack motivation or simply “think” do not have time for your complete exercise routine – there is ALWAYS something you can do. Whether that means you do just 10 minutes of exercise, wake up a half hour earlier, do a workout in your house (Google options that require NO equipment), hit the gym instead of grabbing lunch with co-workers, etc. Once you get out of the habit of working out – it is MUCH harder to get back into the swing of things.

    (2) STAY CONSCIOUS

    No, I’m not saying “stay alive” or don’t “pass out” (although both are very important) but I mean --> be mindful. Life alone gets hectic, then you add the Holidays and our “good thinking” can go right out the window. You first have to get yourself in the correct mindset. Thinking “It’s the Holidays, I’ll get back on track January” WILL backfire on you. Plus, have you ever “planned” to get back on track then “life” happens and your “plan” continues to be pushed further and further away?! We all have gone off track in our life and have had the dreaded experience of getting back in shape and/or start eating healthier. We ALL have been there. Remind yourself of when this happened to you in the past and what that experience was like for you. Remember how it felt to get back into the swing of things. Ask yourself again “Is it worth it?” This may sound silly but putting up sticky notes with whatever “saying” you have to tell yourself helps. Having something that makes you stop and read will keep you mindful and remind yourself of your goal(s). You want to make sure you are placing these notes in places you go throughout your day. Some examples of what to put on the refrigerator and/or inside on one of the refrigerator shelves, on a cabinet: “Will this get me closer to my goals?”, “Remember how you felt after eating after dinner.“ An example to put in your car for when you have the urge to stop at drive-thru, on your way to a Holiday part: “I don’t want to sabotage the hard work I put in today towards my goals!”, “I have food at home that is healthier and won’t take me long to prepare/cook.”, “I want to wake up feeling great!”, “I will focus on socializing with friends not food/alcohol.”

    Lastly, when you eat more than you should and/or eat something high in fat/calories, do NOT waive the white flag on eating bad the rest of the day, the next day or the rest of the week/month. You WILL do one or both of the above because you are human and that is okay, the key is getting back on track as soon as possible. Get to your workout that day/next day, plan a healthier meal, etc.

    (4) BE KIND TO YOURSELF

    Why is it that food is always our “go to” for most everything. When we celebrate - we eat. When we are bored - we eat. When we are sad - we eat. We eat. We eat. Yes, we need food to stay alive but let’s turn the focus away from food and to all the other amazing things in life - family, health, love, friends, nature, etc.

    We obviously cannot avoid eating all together As I mentioned earlier - You will make a bad food decision. You will eat more than you intended. It will happen…but the key is to become aware of your bad choice and learn from it. A mistake we all tend to make is when you “fall off the healthy eating wagon”, we give up. We turn a bad meal into a bad day into a bad week, etc. Do NOT strive to eat perfectly. Be kind to yourself.

    This time of year can be especially stressful for many reasons. Food is high on the list of things people go to when under stress. Eating may feel good in the moment but the feelings that triggered the eating are still there. Chances are you will feel worse than you did before because of the unnecessary calories you consumed. You may beat yourself for messing up and not having more willpower. Choosing food to help cope with stress will get you stuck in an unhealthy cycle. Again – be kind to yourself. Get back on track as soon as you can.

    (5) BE PARTY PREPARED

    Holiday season also means – holiday parties –-> a.k.a. food and drink temptations EVERYWHERE!! Whether you going and/or hosting these parties – the temptations are going to be there. Be prepared.

    A>Have a nutritious snack or a meal before you head out to the holiday party. Arriving hungry will have you pouncing on the food table. Maybe twice. Once you are hungry - you will make a bad food decision. Guaranteed. Our stomach will over-ride anything you “intended” on eating.

    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 snack time.

    B>Remember one of the great things about the Holidays is spending time with friends and family. Take advantage of catching up with friends and/or family you have not seen in a while.

    C>Avoid drinking too much alcohol at holiday parties. I know, I know – party pooper…but… it is not just about calories but about control. If you drink more than intended - you won't have as much control over what you eat. Should you partake in having a cocktail or two – be aware of the alcohol you choose. Stay clear of the desert drinks as they pack a lot of calories, save calories with diet drink and liquor, opt for sugar-free red bull and vodka, etc.

    D>Whether you are at a Holiday party, someone else’s home or in the comfort of your home – use small plates. When you use big plates, chances are you will fill up that plate. Using a smaller plate will limit how much food you put on that plate. Before going back for 2nd - wait 30 minutes to decide if you really are hungry. It takes about that long for our body to reach our brain letting us know if we are full or not.

    E>Should you hit the buffet of food, fill your plate with the healthy choices first. Pay attention to how you feel before going back to more. Are you content? Full? Do you want to go back because you have had your eye on dessert? Trying to kill time? Think before you go back….if you go back at all. This one goes back to “being mindful” of how you feel. As yourself those questions you have on your sticky notes.

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