holiday weight gain

Avoid the Holiday Weight Gain

The holidays are a great time to reconnect with friends and family and enjoy the season, but it also can spell disaster for diet and exercise regimens. Here are three of my top tips for getting through the next three weeks.

1. Don’t fall for the “all or nothing” mentality.

One of the biggest excuses I hear is “well, I already messed up on my diet by having (insert cookies, wine, scalloped potatoes, etc.), so I might as well keep indulging.”

This line of thinking is a mental trap that allows a 200-calorie-indulgence to balloon into 2000 extra calories. Don’t think of yourself as being on or off diet, or dividing the foods you eat into good or bad foods.

Yes, some foods are healthier than others and can (and should) be eaten more often than foods higher in calories or less healthy ingredients (sugar, saturated fat, etc.). However, it is absolutely possible to indulge in some of your holiday favorites without throwing your current health and fitness goals out the window. The best way to do this is…

2. Choose your indulgences with intention

Maybe what you want more than anything is your Mom’s infamous apple pie, or a glass of real egg nog when you meet up with old friends. For things that come about only once a year, I absolutely encourage you to enjoy them! But, that means saying no to things you can get anytime, like chocolate chip cookies someone brought from the grocery store or mac and cheese at a potluck.

Think about what will really bring you the most satisfaction, and make it a goal to stick to a reasonable portion of that indulgence. For those times when you know multiple once-a-year treats will be available at one time…

3. Don’t skimp on being active!

Even if the holidays disrupt your normal workout routine, there usually are still plenty of opportunities to get in some form of physical activity every day. And if you are burning extra calories throughout your day, this can go a long way towards preventing excessive weight gain. Some activities you could do might include:

  • Walking outside (or inside shopping, touring a museum, etc.)
  • Sled riding, skiing, or snowboarding
  • Taking a free class at a new fitness club with a friend (or playing an indoor sport, like basketball)
  • Using a workout DVD at home (many offer great workouts in 20-30 minutes—Jillian Michaels DVDs are some of my favorites!)
  • Engaging in a total body workout routine from the web (Pintrest, Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook will often yield good results)

Trust me, I am not the food police by any means. I know I’ll be having some desserts and savory dishes myself! But, if it’s really important to you to keep losing weight, training for a competition, or improving your endurance/strength week to week, keep those goals in mind by using the strategies above. Happy Holidays!

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