It's that time of year again. The beautiful Fall leaves have fallen and there's a chill in the air. It's around this time of year when one's exercise level tends to decline, but their calorie intake increases--a sure recipe for holiday weight gain.
I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. But as a fitness professional, I feel an obligation to go through the ritual!
Okay, first...I know all my Midwest and East coast friends and acquaintances are salty about the impending cold weather and snow. Believe me, I use to be right there with you. But winter is coming whether you like it or not--so why not choose to like it rather than sit and complain about it. A positive attitude can make a world of difference when it comes to motivation! Find the silver lining in winter! For me it was learning how to ski. Maybe that's not for you...so find something else. Take an ice skating lesson. Put your layers on and go for a winter hike. Act like a kid and go sledding! Walking back up that hill is great exercise. Ask for a pair of snow shoes for Christmas.
The point is, don't sit and wallow until March. It's not good for you physically, mentally or emotionally. And if you are unhealthy in any of those categories, you will become defenseless against all the baked goodies out there throughout the holidays. When you are feeling down, comfort food becomes a go to for many people. And come Spring, your blood pressure and cholesterol will be up, and your clothes will be too tight!
So let's talk about those holiday goodies. Soon they will be everywhere. I'm not saying you should forgo them altogether. I mean, they are part of what makes the holidays magic (and delicious). Moderation is key. Perhaps this isn't the time of year for your big weight loss plan. Why not go for a maintain don't gain theme for the holidays? And you can accomplish that by burning off the goodies you do choose to partake in.
So make a solid effort to work a little harder on the days you indulge. Hit the gym. Take a class (most community centers offer classes at a very reasonable price). Go for a walk to look at the neighborhood lights. Plan to stuff yourself on Thanksgiving Day? Sign up for a Turkey Trot that morning. Many communities have them. You don't have to be a runner. Many folks come out to walk it. And most collect canned goods for those in need.
Know in your mind that sugar is addicting. If you eat one cookie or chocolate--you'll want another. That's just how our bodies tend to work. So you have to exercise some self-control. Don't let yourself get carried away.
Alcohol is another holiday evil. I'll be the first to admit, I love a cup of eggnog. Remember it's empty calories. As far as fat and calories, a dry red wine is a better choice. Water is even better!
So let's review:
- You're going to make an effort to at least not hate winter. I won't ask you love it (although I've come to love it). Just give it a chance.
- You are going to allow yourself to indulge a little, but not a lot.
- And when you do indulge, you're going to work to burn those extra calories off with a good workout.
- Your goal is maintain don't gain through the holidays.
- Finally, try to keep the stress level low and the positive attitude high. Stress can contribute to weight gain.