Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Over the River and through the Woods, to Calorie Town we go
We are now officially in the holiday season. You've made it through step one--Halloween. Good job! Hopefully, you kept your chocolate eating to a minimum and got plenty of exercise. If there's any Halloween candy left, for goodness sakes, throw it away! Next up--Thanksgiving! And once you get through Thanksgiving, the holiday cookies start making their appearance!
How can you make it through the next two months without putting on holiday weight?
First, I think it's important to have realistic goals. I wouldn't choose this time of year to try to lose weight. Instead, I would go with the maintain don't gain philosophy. So go ahead and weigh in. See where you are right now and then resolve to maintain that weight through the first of the year. It will keep you honest and motivated.
Here are some other tips for keeping off the holiday pounds:
Train for a January or February event. Depending on your activity level, this could be a 5k, a half marathon, or an indoor triathlon. I know it's cold out there, but by signing up for an event, you're committed to training for it--and that means consistent exercise.
Sign up for a local Turkey Trot. Many communities have them Thanksgiving morning. They are usually five miles long and you can either run or walk them. You'll be around 500 calories down before you eat that first bite of Thanksgiving dinner. Try not to get into the mindset that you can eat an extra slice of pie because you burnt the extra calories calories! If your community doesn't have an organized Turkey Trot, do your own. Get the family out for a morning walk around the neighborhood.
Don't deny yourself those meals you only eat around the holidays. Try everything you want--just don't try a lot of it! Have small servings of stuffing, gravy and mashed potatoes, but load your plate up with salad greens (easy on the dressing), vegetables and white meat turkey. Allow yourself a small sliver of pie so you don't feel denied. Sometimes when we deny ourselves the food we really want, we end up over-indulging in it.
If you're preparing the Thanksgiving feast, look for low-fat versions of your favorite recipes. Make your stuffing from whole grain bread and cut some of the butter out of the recipe (or use healthier versions of butter like those made from yogurt or try using ghee). Use skim milk instead of whole milk. Cut out some of the sugar in your recipes. Sweet potatoes are healthy (and deliciously sweet) BEFORE adding loads of brown sugar, marshmallows and butter.
Don't do your Christmas shopping online. I know it's convenient and you don't have to deal with the crowds, but you can burn a lot of calories hauling your shopping bags around the mall.
Buy friends and family healthy gifts for the holidays (eehhmm...perhaps a personal training gift certificate), exercise videos, certificates to aerobics classes, fitness equipment, etc. And stuff stockings with fruits, jump ropes, resistance bands and healthy snacks.
Alcohol can be a killer during the holidays. Egg nog is loaded with calories. Again, don't completely deny yourself. It's okay to sip on a glass of egg nog, but do just that...sip it. And have a full glass of water between each drink. You'll feel fuller and drink less. I have actually made a wine deal with myself: 1 glass of wine = 1 mile of running. No wine for me if I haven't run it off earlier in the day (note: if I do a five mile run, that doesn't mean I'm drinking five glasses of wine that night)!
And finally, when all else fails (and it won't if you're careful) set goals for the new year. Goals can be set any time of the year, but there's something about a brand new year that inspires. But be sure to keep your goals realistic so you don't set yourself up for failure. Rather than resolving to lose 50 lbs, resolve to increase the number of days you exercise each week. If you currently work out twice a week, try for four times a week. If you've never run before, resolve to start running and conquer a 5k or 10K. Work up to the marathon. If you want to be a faster runner, resolve to beat your best race time, not to win the race.
The same goes for nutrition. Resolving to eat better is great, but how about making the goal more specific. If you're not a big veggie eater, resolve to eat two fresh vegetables a day. Maybe you could cut your red meat intake down to once a week and resolve to eat more farm fresh chicken and wild caught fish. Maybe you can even resolve to eat vegetarian one dinner a week.
With just a little diligence, you can enjoy your holiday season without the health risks of weight gain. So indulge yourself--but just a little. And enjoy your time with family and friends.
- J.J. Kunkle
- I am the owner of The Fit Life, LLC. The Fit Life, LLC offers fitness instruction and nutrition counseling in a holistic way. I focus on personal training using mainly your own body strength--very little equipment. I also hold a certification in holistic nutrition. Because nutrition counseling regulations are very strict in Ohio, I'm still working on what nutrition services I can provide to my clients; however, I'm happy to provide general nutrition information. I enjoy teaching TRX, Indoor Cycling, and Boot Camps.
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