With all the celebrations and family gatherings this holiday season, are you concerned about maintaining your current weight? If you think about your energy balance (energy in vs. energy out) it is very easy to see how over the holidays you eat a little more and move a little less, which leads to some weight gain.
During the holiday season, the average person gains 5-12 lbs! Fortunately, though, you don’t have to fall victim to excess holiday bulge with these fitness tips...
Tip #1 – Write it down
Create a plan during the holiday season and write down your goals. For most people, the act of actually sitting down and writing out a plan of action, helps them to stay focused and increases their chances of following through. Make sure your goals are realistic and plan out some daily, weekly, and monthly goals. Make sure your plan contains some of the following tips in it as well.
Tip #2 – Get moving and make exercise a priority
During the holidays, most people cut out exercise because they say that they “don’t have the time.” Wrong–you do have the time! You don’t have to exercise an hour every day to get the benefits of exercise. If you are pressed for time, try some interval training which can burn more calories than an hour of steady-state cardio and can be done in only 20 minutes. Another way to burn extra calories in a shorter period of time is to perform some strength training workouts. Interval training and strength training both create an exercise-after burn which allows your body to continue burning additional calories even while you rest for up to 36 hours or more.
Tip #3 – Drink water
This really isn’t anything new, we all know that we need water to stay hydrated, but it’s more than just hydration. Sometimes the lack of adequate amounts of water in our diet can cause us to feel hungry when we are really not. Many people end up packing on extra calories because they think that they are hungry when really all they need is some water. Water helps keep our metabolism running at peak performance and aids in the digestion of foods so, drink up!
Tip #4 – Don’t skip meals
Holiday season means huge meals and huge appetites. On these days people generally tend to skip breakfast or lunch in anticipation of that big holiday dinner. The problem is that this tends to cause people to overeat and really pack on the pounds. Skipping meals slows the metabolism and aids in fat storage. Make sure to eat a few small meals before your holiday dinner to help minimize overeating and save yourself a 1,000 calories.
Tip #5 – Moderation
Watching what you eat and losing weight doesn’t mean that you can’t treat yourself every now and then. The problem is that when most people go to treat themselves, they over-do it. Go ahead and grab a small piece of the pie, but remember to think in moderation and avoid going for seconds on dessert. Eating a few small meals and a small salad before your holiday dinner can help you avoid those cravings for sweets and help keep you feeling full.
Tip #6 – Minimize alcohol
One gram of alcohol contains 7 calories which is nearly double the amount contained in one gram of carbohydrate (4 calories) and is only two calories shy of a gram of fat (9 calories). These 7 calories per gram don’t even include all the calories and sugar you may take it if you mix your alcohol with something else. Drinking alcohol is a quick way to pack on excess calories and weight. If you plan on drinking, just remember moderation.
Tip #7 – Get some sleep
Lack of sleep has been shown to aid in the accumulation of belly fat which can be very dangerous to your health. Make sure, even though holidays are a busy time of the year, that you are getting enough sleep.
I'm Natatia Gemmell.