Staying Fit for The Holidays
The holiday season doesn’t just represent one day of overeating, it’s an extended period of time where there is more, alcohol, more snacks, and more appetizers that contain many more calories that are actually necessary. Media stories suggest that the average person gains 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. In surveys, people say they gain, on average, about five pounds this time of year. However, several studies now show that the average weight gain during the winter holidays is just one pound. This news isn’t all good. According to the National Institute of Health, most people don’t ever lose the pound of weight they put on during the holidays. The average weight gain during adulthood is about one to two pounds a year, which means much of midlife weight-gain can be explained by holiday eating.
The key to maintain a healthy weight during the holidays is to monitor your portions. Of course this can be hard when the temptations are endless. For one, never arrive at a party hungry. It’s easy to over-eat when you arrive at a party and you’re starving. Try having a healthy snack and a glass of water before you head out. Opt for water or club soda instead of alcohol. Drinking alcohol not only adds on empty calories, it also inhibits your ability to control what you eat. Many people will eat more when consuming alcohol than if they were only drinking non-alcoholic beverages. Not to mention it will make you feel much better for your morning workout!
Sticking to your workout plan will also play a big role in how your holiday season plays out. It’s a busy time of year and it is easy to get caught up with everything else going on. Your Monday morning spin class or that personal training appointment should remain on the top of your priority list. For one reason, that workout is going to give you the extra energy necessary to keep you going through your busy week. Exercise makes you work more efficiently, and helps you sleep better. Also knowing that you have to meet with your trainer in the morning will keep you focused when going out for a holiday party.
When cooking this holiday season limit your quality control taste testing. I must say that I am guilty of this, but a lot of the times when cooking I like to taste throughout the cooking or baking process. The problem here is that it adds extra calories, and by the time the dish is made I have already eaten enough calories to count for a meal, and I’m full for dinner. Of course when we are all doing much more baking, all those extra tasting calories can really add up.
This holiday season make an honest effort to control portions, limit tasting while cooking, and meet with your trainer or gym buddy on a regular basis and you can keep that holiday weight-gain under control. Remember that just gaining one pound can add up unless you can really lose it after the holiday season is over. Although, if losing that weight was so easy in the first place, then I guess we would have nothing to make New Year’s resolutions over.
~ Written by: Nicole Flanagan
Publishers Note: This column is a repeat of Nicole’s Nov. 2011 column. She has moved to Boston and on to new adventures. We will continue to print her sage advice, however, and wish her much happiness in Bean Town.