Monday, October 19, 2009

Avoid Gaining Weight Over the Holidays!

Did you know the average person will gain anywhere from 5-25 or more pounds between Halloween and New Years? Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, Holiday parties, Family gatherings, Hanukkah, Christmas gatherings, and New Year's parties how is anyone to survive? Not to mention most offices have treats left out during this time from either employees, employers, other businesses and marketing teams. Planning ahead of time for the holiday's is key! You can still enjoy yourself without the weight gain if you plan ahead of time. Hiring a personal trainer can really help keep you accountable and help you make a plan of attack. This time of year can be really difficult for people not to just give up till New Years. If you can't afford a personal trainer you can still do it yourself but will require greater strength and will power. Most people find it hard to find time to exercise and the holidays can make it worse. This is a very busy time for people so exercise is usually put on hold. Here are a few things that can help you avoid the average fate:

Plan and Prepare! Get a calendar and map out your typical parties, gatherings, holiday dinners, office parties and any other events you know you will be going to. Then pencil in any possible last minute parties that may happen. If possible try to find out what will be served at all of these events. You don't have to deprive yourself but don't go overboard as well. Allow yourself a small plate of food, trying to make at least half the items healthy choices. Save room for dessert if you know you will not be able to resist. (like me) Use a dessert size plate and take a small piece of your dessert of choice. If there are many desserts then see if you can take a spoonful of each one but no more than what will fit on that plate. If alcohol is served and you must have some then choose a glass of red wine or light beer. No alcohol is best as it can really add up in calories. Another great idea is to choose which of your favorites you will have at each event. For example, if you know your mom's family gathering is making your favorite macaroni and cheese, then that is what you will splurge on for that party. Don't have dessert, instead have dessert at another party you know will have good desserts.

NEVER go to any of these events hungry. Not eating lunch so you can splurge at the party can really backfire. Since you will be starving when you get there you may have 3 times as much as you would have had and consumed more calories than if you had eaten lunch. A good trick I like to do is about 30 minutes before I get to the party I like to make myself a really big salad consisting of spinach leaves, cucumbers, mushrooms, bellpeppers, maybe a few thin slices of deli turkey and two tablespoons of balsamic vinaigrette(no sugar added). Mix 2 cups of spinach with fresh veggies and add dressing in a tupperware dish then shake it up to mix the dressing throughout. This is very tasty and filling. I finish with a full glass of water, then by the time I get to the party I am ok with having a small amount of food.

It is still a good idea to keep a food diary to keep you in check. This is for you only so don't forget to write something just because you don't want to admit it. This is to help you see if you really went all out for one or two days then maybe the next few days eat really conservative. Another trick I do is that during the week I make myself avoid the goodies at work and eat really healthy during the week and maybe cut back on calories as well so I can eat a little more calories at the parties. So if I normally eat 1700 calories per day then I might cut back to 1300 calories per day during the week so then I can have extra on the weekends. Now don't go and eat an extra 2000 calories in one night (although that could be just one slice of cheesecake). But try to balance it out so you are not consuming more calories overall the total week.

Exercise is another key to help you not gain weight over the holidays. I know that this is the most difficult time of year to find the time when you have so much extra to do. This is where you really have to sit down and map out how you can get exercise in. For example if there are a few nights that you have must watch TV nights then use those times to exercise as well. Get some equipment like some free weights, stability ball and resistance bands and you can get a great workout while watching TV. Also if you already have a treadmill or elliptical then you can use those as well while you watch TV. There are other ways of getting some extra exercise in like parking at the end of the parking lot so you will walk further to get to the store, taking stairs instead of elevator and walking on your lunch breaks. With some of those just make sure you are in a safe environment. Depending on your job you should be able to take some time at your desk to exercise. Either bring a stability ball to sit on instead of a chair and/or use some resistance bands. At least a few times a day do a few minutes of resistance band exericses.

If you already go to the gym or have a personal trainer then try to fit those in at a different time if you are going to be busy shopping or entertaining. It's just 8 weeks so if you need to switch to early morning before work or a lunchtime session then really try to make that work out. Just keep telling yourself, it's just 8 weeks.

Some people already need to lose weight so they will say why start it now when it is too hard and then I'll start my New Years resolution to lose weight. Why do you want to gain more weight to make it more difficult to lose later on? You can start now, avoid the gain and you could lose some weight before the new years, then by the time new years come around you will be in better shape and able to work harder to lose the weight more quickly.

You can still enjoy the holidays, eat the good stuff, avoid the weight gain and lose weight. I know for some of you this seems impossible but I promise you it is not. I don't have the skinny gene. I gain weight if I hang out to long in the bakery (ok, if I eat a lot from the bakery). I have learned how to enjoy the holidays without feeling deprived and the key is proper planning and preparing both physically and emotionally. You will actually feel good about yourself after the holidays where most other people are sad and feel horrible with their weight gain.

So let's plan! Prepare! Take Action! I know you can do it! If you can't do it on your own then there are people that can help. Plus it is a slow time for personal trainers so ask for a holiday discount during the 8 weeks of holidays. I'm sure they will oblige. So go on, have a very happy holidays without the guilt, bloating and weight gain. Good Luck! Email me or post comments with questions, I'd be happy to help!

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