Did you know that the average American gains 5 pounds between November and December? With the parties, the appetizers, the drinks, and all the delicious holiday desserts, it’s no wonder that “Holiday Weight Gain” is a very real thing. Well today we’re combating holiday poundage and taking back our health on the Fit Stop Blog! We have one of our fitness experts, Jared Beckstrand, PT, DPT here to discuss 10 simple tips you can try out this year to stay fit and active through the holidays! Try them out! Keep reading for more…
1. Exercise – Absolutely the most-obvious, yet oftentimes the hardest to work in – is get in at least some exercise on most days of the week. During the winter months it’s a little harder to be active because of the cold weather outside. But don’t let that excuse keep you from burning some calories! All of our Fit Stop clinics are located adjacent to world class gym facilities. This is obviously a great option to stay healthy and active, but you shouldn’t feel like your exercise is limited to your ability to get to the gym! Check out this website for hundreds of great at-home workout options!
2. Outdoor activities! One great way to avoid holiday weight gain and boost your activity level this winter is to find an outdoor activity that you can get into. Growing up in Utah my whole life, snow skiing, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are among my favorites. Building a snowman, sledding, and ice skating are all great activities to do with the family and help fight the winter-time stir-crazies with the kiddos! The only thing better than the calorie burn is the memories you’ll make with your family.
3. Indoor activities! Hate the cold and snow? There are plenty of fun activities you can do inside to increase your activity and burn some calories! Racquetball, swimming, basketball, and spinning are all great options to shred some calories while staying warm and toasty! Need a little more direction? Zumba, body pump, step, barre, and yoga are all great options that we offer in most of our gyms!
4. Plan time for yourself: If you and your family are anything like me and my family – Dec is a circus! I was just looking at my calendar the other day – all of our Saturdays and most of our weekdays are completely full until after Christmas! One great tip to avoid gaining weight this time of year is to schedule time for yourself right now. Schedule a workout, a hike, a swim, or whatever – and put it down on your calendar right now! That way you have the time reserved and scheduled that can’t be interrupted by a lot of the other things that come up this time of the year. Treat it like an appointment that you’ve made for yourself… and bosses don’t cancel!
5. Reach for the H2O. When treats and holiday baked goods are in abundance, you run the risk of the dreaded “mindless bored eating”. You know what I mean… you’re not hungry but you’re going to eat anyway just because it’s there. Well the next time you’re headed for the pantry, divert to the sink instead! Drinking water is a great way to fill up your stomach and activate the satiated stretch response without adding any calories. Did you know you should be drinking 64 ounces daily? Are you getting enough?
6. Find a friend with similar goals: There are strength in numbers – especially when it comes to health and fitness! Go to the gym, go on a run, any of the activities in #3 above – having a partner counting on you will also increase your compliance. I would encourage you to take it one step further and make it a point to ask each other about your eating habits on at least a weekly basis. Make it a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend, sibling, etc. Having someone close to you that you will report to regularly will do wonders to increase your exercise frequency and diet consistency.
7. Eat a healthy snack before going to your holiday parties: By far one of my favorite tips! Most of holiday weight gain comes with going to your holiday parties. Unfortunately these parties aren’t always stocked with the healthiest food and drink options. Here’s your way around it – about 30 minutes before your party, grab a healthy snack. An apple, a banana, a small sandwich – even a salad. Munch on a healthy snack and pay attention to your satiety at the party. When you’re full – cut off your eating! Need some healthy snack options? Here’s a list of 70 of my favorites!
8. Don’t hang out by the food table: Geography is a surprisingly powerful thing. When you arrive at your party or get-together – don’t hang out by the food table! Oftentimes this will be a lot more difficult than you can imagine! People like to mingle and socialize and usually that involves a plate of food or a drink in your hand. If the food/drink is readily available – you tend to mindlessly reach for more of it while socializing. My advice is this – grab your plate and remove yourself as far from the table as possible. You’ll be a lot less apt to snack on food if you have to cross a large room and a lot of people to get to it.
9. Did I mention drink WATER? This one’s going to be a challenge, but I know you can do it. Don’t drink your calories. Think about all the drinks that are increasingly present this time of year – alcohol, soda, egg nog, juices, hot chocolate, spiced cider, etc. You will always be able to drink a lot more liquid calories than you can consume solid food calories. For the rest of the month – my challenge to you is to reach for the water instead of all these other calories. Drinking water instead of these beverages is a simple way to cut our 100-200 calories per meal. It may not seem like a lot, but cutting 100 calories per day will result in preserving 1 whole pound of weight gain.
10. Allow yourself SOME indulgence: Alright – let’s be completely honest with each other – the food and drink around the holidays is amazing and you’re not going to follow every one of these rules all the time (if you do – email me because I would love to hear your story!). Allowing yourself some indulgence does a couple of things: First – you will have a pre-determined amount that you can cheat with (1 dessert, 1 drink, etc) and when you reach that limit there should be a mental flag telling you you’re done. Second – when you tell yourself you’re never going to mess up and then you do – you feel like a failure. You’ve let yourself down and you’re not good at attaining your goals. If you predetermine to allow yourself some indulgence – these feelings will be replaced by those of self-control, restraint, and empowerment. Here are a few other guidelines that will help you…
~ Only one dessert per party
~ Share desserts with a spouse or friend
~ Find the healthier option: reach for the fruit instead of the chocolate. Try to find the smaller sugar cookie instead of the entire fudge brownie.
Holiday weight gain is a real thing that plagues millions of people every year. But not this year and not to you!! Following these tips can help you keep you diet and fitness on track this season to help you enjoy healthier, happier holidays!
Interested in learning more? Contact us at one of our conveniently-located clinics to learn more about health, fitness, rehabilitation, and wellness!