Five Tips to Maintain Your Weight During the Holidays

In Christmas, diet, eating, exercise, health, holiday, job, lifestyle, New Years, nutrition, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized, weight gain, wellness on November 16, 2011 at 3:51 am

Several years ago, on the day after Christmas, a co-worker announced that she wasn’t going to bother eating lunch, because “I’m just going to pig out all day on cookies.”

Holiday weight gain isn’t inevitable, though.  We just think it is, because so many of us see the period from Thanksgiving to New Years as an entire 45-day holiday, rather than three holidays that just happen to fall in a 45-day period!

Adding to that, we’re tired and stressed to the max, what with juggling work, family responsibilities, shopping, entertaining, attending parties and events, and more.  Let’s be honest: We don’t exactly make the best food choices when we’re tired and stressed, often seeking out high-calorie, high-fat, sugary comfort foods, so the the holiday season can be a holiday battle-ground.  It’s even worse if you’re already inclined to be a binge-eater, because the holiday season can only add to those leanings.

Here are five tips to help you get through it all–healthfully, happily and strongly.

  • It can’t be said often enough!  Keep in mind that the Thanksgiving-New Year period is only a 45-day stretch that includes three major holidays.  It isn’t a 45-day holiday that allows you to overeat, forget about exercise and forget about any wellness.
  • Maintain, or even step up, your exercise program!

Ask copywriter and avid exerciser Colette Connolly  the best way not to gain holiday weight and she’ll say: “Exercise…that way you won’t feel guilty about the extra calories and the pounds won’t settle on your hips as a result.”

New York City fitness instructor (and college professor, book author and mother-to-a-toddler) Natalia Petrzela says consistency is key.  “I think one of the best ways to make it through the holidays feeling fit and healthy is to make a reasonable schedule for exercise and STICK to it” she said, “In a season during which holiday parties and shopping may be cutting into your normal gym time, it’s important to get organized, or before you know it, the month will fly by, and all the exercise you will have done is lifting some shopping bags to your door and some canapés to your mouth! Usually work out at night? Try to commit to a few morning classes if you know you have evening commitments.”

“It’s also a good time to add something new,” says New York City personal trainer Danielle Harrison. “Normally, I recommend 45 minutes of cardio every other day; things like yoga, boot camp classes, body sculpting. “

  • Eat regularly.   It’s tempting to skip a meal when you’ve overindulged the night before.  You might also think you’re too busy to eat. You’re not saving any calories, though.  This is the problem:  Skipping meals will only lower your metabolism, so your body will think it’s starving and will protect you by storing calories.  You’ll also get really tired.  You might even overeat at the next meal, because your body will want to make up for any lost calories.

“Set yourself up for success with reasonable goal,” said Petrzela… “The thing to remember is that it’s OK to relax and enjoy the festivities without guilt- that’s the best part of the season! But setting attainable goals for yourself will help you stay on track through December… And will make your New Year’s Resolutions that much easier to meet!”

“I emphasize the need for portion control to my clients, but especially so during this season,” added Harrison.  “In fact, I suggest keeping a food journal.”

  • Prepare.  If you know you’ll be attending a big function, pay a little extra attention to your diet and exercise the days before. Try to eat super-healthy, exercise more, step up a little self-care, such as a hot bath, extra sleep or massage.
  • Keep Alcohol Intake Moderate.  Remember, just because it’s liquid, it still has calories.  And keep that in mind for all liquids; one of those 16-oz flavored coffees that’s so popular has 44-grams of sugar!

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