Ok, I have to come clean here and tell you that I have the world’s sweatest tooth and it’s at this time of year all my will power flies out the window and I really struggle with avoiding all my favorite Christmas treats my wife makes. Thank goodness I never give up my training program and I make exercise a high priority at this time of year.
I’m not sure why it happens; it could be that we get caught up in the sparkling lights, the pretty snow, the shopping frenzy and the fun of the holiday season. But, suddenly you may find that managing your weight and sticking to your exercise program easily slides down to the bottom of your priorities. After all, sampling sweet treats and browsing for the perfect gift can easily distract you from the treadmill.
With a little bit of planning, you can move more in December and keep those extra pounds for Santa. So watch the ball drop on December 31 and know you don’t have to spend the rest of the year undoing the damage you did this month...with these tips.
Be careful of liquid calories - Holidays are notorious for tempting us with drinks we wouldn’t normally consume. Alcohol is a poison to the human body and offers no nutrients, just empty calories! Eggnog coffee drinks with whipped cream, hot toddies, and spiced rum can have as many calories as a personal pan pizza! Opt instead for sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice of your choice.
Focus on socializing, not food and alcohol - Go to the party to socialize, not just eat and drink. Use your energy making memorable conversation rather than focusing on food and drink. 'Tis the season for friends and family after all, and conversation is calorie free!
Get moving - Food isn’t the only enemy, lack of activity is also the problem. Remember calories in versus calories out. I’ll watch some of my holiday favorite TV shows while riding my bike on the indoor trainer instead of sitting for hours on my butt. Also, instead of looking for the perfect parking spot near the front door, park farther away at the mall and take the stairs with your packages. Better yet, get your workout done in the morning instead of being derailed by evening holiday hoopla.
Select healthy first - Really stick to consuming your eight fruits and vegetables each day—keeping nourished with healthy food helps avoid those excess sugar highs and energy lows that can make you tired and depressed.
Try the one-a-day program - Limit yourself to one indulgence per day. Don’t deprive yourself of all sugar for three days so you can pig out at the company holiday party. Be moderate in your thought process: one cookie, one candy, one eggnog, not one of everything all at once.
Control the risk for temptation - Don’t walk through the break room at work 10 times a day when you know it’s filled with treats and candies brought in by fellow workers. My wife sets all her Christmas treats on the coffee table just staring at me. Don’t place treats on your kitchen counter or on the coffee table where the temptation is too great. Know yourself and your weaknesses so you can more easily avoid them. Because if you’re anything like me, you can’t just eat one.
Never go to a party hungry - One of the worst things you can do is starve yourself before a holiday party in a misguided effort to save up your calories. The hungrier you are, the less capable you are of staying in control. Avoid the grazing mentality at parties: take a plate and fill it only once with appetizers. Don’t keep going back for seconds and thirds.
Exercise in small bursts - Break up your exercise throughout the day to reach a minimum of 60 minutes per day. Try two 15-minute walks with a 30-minute shopping outing with some extra lifts of those packages you're carrying.
Escape the couch - Step away from the living room, and invite family and friends to get active. Choose gifts that encourage venturing outdoors, such as sleds, skates, or snowshoes. Get out and power walk to see the neighborhood holiday lights. If you must sit to watch a favorite show, get the whole family to do something active during each commercial break like jogging on the spot, or jumping jacks. Do something that will elevate your heart rate without breaking into a full-on sweat.
Set your own limits - Many times we eat foods or have seconds just to please the hostess or cook. Politely say “No thank you. Everything looks delicious, but I think I’ve reached my limit!”
I’m the first to admit that this time of year is tough to manage because of all the unhealthy temptations that surround us, but remember, if you like most people, ½ of the weight your gain over this holiday season, will be with you for the rest of your life. Enjoy your family and friends while giving the cold shoulder to the unhealthy temptations. Trust me; they have no feelings to offend.
Enjoy the Holidays….and Enjoy the Ride…..Rob