Holidays: the worst nightmare of dieters…
We’re constantly bombarded by yummy treats, from Christmas tree cookies to Thanksgiving stuffing, and I don’t believe any of them are on a sensible diet plan. I know what they say… it won’t ruin your whole day if you have ONE cookie, but if your family is anything like mine there is not just ONE cookie to choose from but TEN different choices (and let me tell you, it’s hard to just eat one). The holiday season is a time where temptations are high and exercise is the last thing on your mind when you have shopping, family parties, friend gatherings, and work festivities to attend. And what is the one thing that all these activities have in common? Eating and drinking are the two most common answers. Exercise just seems to fall on the back burner by default.
When I started writing this post, it occurred to me that my family could be an exception, so I did a little research. And what did I find? That the average American gains approximately 1 pound every year over the 6 week period from Thanksgiving to New Years, but most of the volunteers in the selection were convinced they had gained almost twice that amount. When New Year’s comes around and you feel bloated and uncomfortable, don’t freak out! You most likely didn’t do as much damage as originally thought.
The most obvious thing that can help or prevent the weight gain is to find time to exercise during the next few weeks. The tips below can be helpful for everyone from those of you that have a regular exercise routine to those that would just like to maintain their weight through the tough holiday months.
Tip #1: Park Farther Away from the Door
When you are crazy busy with shopping, going in and out of stores to try and find just the right gift, don’t take the closest parking spot you can find. Try to park in the back and get some more walking into your routine. The more walking you do, the more weight you will shed. I know what you are thinking…how is such a minimal thing really going to help me? But if you take a minute to think of all the shopping you have to do this season — from getting groceries for a party to a gift for your grandma — all the stops and parking will add up.
Tip #2: Don’t Go to Parties Hungry
If you know that tonight is your big work party and that your co-workers will bring wonderful, delicious, and calorie-packed foods, then try to eat something light and healthy before going. For example, an apple, yogurt, cheese stick, or carrots are good choices to get you satisfied (and without stuffing yourself). Not to mention, it’s always good to have a little something in your stomach. Especially if there are alcoholic drinks available at the party.
Tip #3: Take Family Walks the Morning After a Party
Taking a walk with your kids or significant other is one fun way to catch up with them and squeeze in some exercise. During the walk, you can discuss the funny aunt that always brings the same gross pie or what your cousin is up to. This is a great way to slow down the fast pace of the holidays and get that cardio workout you’ve been putting off.
Tip #4: Don’t Fret Over the Time You Have to Exercise
If you can only find time to get on the treadmill for ten minutes, then don’t beat yourself up about it. Anything is better than nothing! You can fit a lot of movement into ten minutes, such as jump roping, jogging, stretching, light quick weight training, etc. A few minutes here and there will add up over the course of the holidays.
Other fun anti-weight-gain suggestions for time-pressed schedules:
- Do a hundred jumping jacks before dinner every night
- Wake up ten minutes earlier and do crunches and push-ups before you start your day
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Bring a healthy dish to pass so you know what to pile on your plate
- Take ten minutes out of your lunch break to meditate and try and relieve the stress of family holidays
- Play out in the snow with your kids or younger family members
- At parties, try not to sit or stand next to the food area
These are just a few small ways to prevent weight gain during the holidays. Do you have any suggestions? Or is there something you try to do every year?