Spending time with family and old friends during the holiday season can be comforting, and it can be stressful. This is a time of year for celebrations and get-togethers, so you can be certain super-rich foods will be present at these special occasions. Having those extreme feelings of comfort or stress can lead to overeating. If you are not overindulging in food, then you may be consuming more alcohol than you are used to. Champagne, wine and mixed drinks are all popular beverages to consume during Thanksgiving, Christmas and especially New Years. Trying to start a diet during the holidays will most likely end in failure, so how about you change your outlook on weight-gain. Instead of depriving yourself and making rules for what you can and cannot eat, take the holiday season day by day, and find ways to promote healthy living decisions. “The easiest way to lose weight is to stop yourself from putting on that weight in the first place” (N-Motion Fitness). In addition to performing the exercises shown in our Travel Workout Video, follow these ten tips to help you adopt a positive outlook on how to keep off that holiday weight-gain!
1. Do not skip meals!
According to Oprah.com, “research indicates that those who skip breakfast—approximately one-third of the American population—have a 450 percent greater chance of being overweight or obese.” Many people believe if they skip breakfast and lunch they will be able to “save” those calories for the big dinner party, but by the time dinner hits you will be so hungry you will easily make up for and exceed the calories you missed out on earlier in the day. Eating a huge meal at night does not allow your body a lot of time to work off those calories, and eating a ton right before bed can pretty much guarantee weight-gain.
2. Stay hydrated!
According to N-Motion Fitness, “It has been scientifically proven that drinking water will help boost your metabolism and thus burn more calories.” Many times people mistake thirst for hunger, and will eat when all they need to do is hydrate. Keep in mind that alcohol is known for dehydrating the body, hence the reason you wake up with that lovely hang over. Drink a glass of water in between each drink, so you can avoid feeling hung over. Many times when people are hung over, they will indulge in unhealthy foods because they are a quick-fix to satisfying hunger.
3. Get your workout in early!
According to celebrity trainer Marco Borges, “Between shopping and holiday parties, everyone’s schedule fills up fast. If you get to the gym before the day has a chance to change your plans, you will not only ensure you do not miss your workout, you will also start the day off right and perpetuate healthier behavior throughout the day.” If you want to stay in shape and if you plan on indulging more than you usually would, you have to hit the gym. You may not have time for a two-hour workout, but anything is better than nothing. Stay away from the attitude that 15 minutes on a treadmill is pointless. Running for 15 minutes can burn off the calories from that extra slice of pie you ate last night for dessert.
4. Turn everyday routines into toning sessions!
According to abcnews.go.com, when Christie Brinkley (a 56-year-old supermodel and mom of three) cannot fit in a full workout, “she turns everyday routines into toning sessions to get the job done.” For example, when you are blow drying your hair, pretend you are sitting in a chair even though there is no chair there. This will allow you to dry your hair while working out your thighs and glutes. Another way to incorporate a quick workout is to tone your calves while preparing your meals. All you need is a raised surface to go up and down on your toes in order to work out your calves. Another idea is to do ten push-ups while waiting for your friend to pick you up. There are tons of 5-10 minute periods throughout your day where you can quickly incorporate a toning exercise (see Travel Workout Video).
5. Eat high-protein or high-fiber snacks before the party!
According to N-Motion Fitness, you will feel fuller and satisfied longer if you make a point to eat a high-protein snack before you go to a holiday party or dinner. “A cup of yogurt or low-fat cottage cheese, 12 almonds, half an apple with half a tablespoon of peanut butter, or low-sodium deli turkey” are all healthy snacking options. “One research study showed that eating an apple before breakfast, lunch and dinner resulted in 14 pounds lost over a 12-week period” (Oprah.com).
6. Choose healthy food options!
According to selfgrowth.com, “There are some healthy options you can eat during the holidays. White-meat turkey is a great lean protein. Vegetables that are not laden with butter, salad not drenched in dressing, sweet potatoes and cranberries are also great options. You can make other typical dishes healthier by changing the ingredients slightly. Try making mashed potatoes with reduced-fat or low-fat milk.” Interestingly, spicy foods speed up your metabolism, so try putting hot sauce or pepper flakes on chicken, vegetables, etc. (Oprah.com). Additionally, make a point to pass on those extra liquid calories you consume from energy drinks, soda and juice.
7. Eat slowly!
According to N-Motion Fitness, “When you eat too fast, you overstuff yourself because it takes a few minutes before your brain is able to realize that your stomach is full.” Meals tend to be social events during the holidays, so there is no need to rush. Take your time when eating and spend some time participating in the “dinner-talk” in between eating. There are only a few times a year where you will have access to such delicious food, so savor the experience!
8. Holidays are days, treat them that way!
Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas day and New Years are only four days out of the whole year. If you find yourself overindulging on these days it is o.k.! Just make sure you are not making every day between Christmas and New Years an excuse to eat more than you usually would.
9. Give or ask for the gift of health!
According to selfgrowth.com, ask your parents, relatives and friends for a “gym membership, gym equipment, athletic apparel or shoes, and gift certificates for a personal trainer.” During the holidays, gift-giving is a common way to celebrate and appreciate the people in your life, so why not ask for something that will motivate you to improve your health and help you stick to a New Years resolution.
10. Spend time outside!
According to celebrity trainer Marco Borges, “Get outside whenever possible for some fun, games and sweat! Whether it is a walk after dinner or a game of extreme Frisbee, motivate your friends and loved ones to get active with you during the holiday season.”
Written by: Leila Seed