Holiday Survival Guide

Always a good repost . . . Here’s your Holiday Survival Guide:  Learn How to Get Through the Holidays With No Regrets

As a personal trainer, I’ve been told many times “I’ll start eating healthy . . .”

  • Tomorrow.
  • After this party or that party.
  • After graduation.
  • After my vacation.
  • Or the biggie . . . “I will start eating healthier after the Holidays”.  You might want to rethink this, since every month of the year has some sort of holiday, vacation, party or life event:
    • October – Halloween
    • November – Thanksgiving
    • December – Christmas
    • January – New Year’s
    • February – Valentine’s Day
    • March – Spring Break
    • April – Easter
    • May – Memorial Day/Mother’s Day
    • June – Father’s Day/Graduations/
    • Summer starts
    • July – 4th of July/Summer Parties
    • August – Summer/Busy with school
    • September – Labor Day

Then . . . Guess What?? It’s October again . . .

What phrase or phrases do you use often?

Better yet, when is a good time to start your lifestyle change?

Let’s face it:  it is hard to stick to a healthy eating and exercise plan during the holidays.  Everywhere we turn there are tempting foods and drinks—from treats at office parties to our own traditional family favorites.  When you add in a busy schedule filled with shopping and get-togethers that make it tough to squeeze in exercise, you have a recipe for disaster as far as scales are concerned.

The good news is that you really can get through the holidays without gaining weight.  It will take some effort, but you will thank yourself a thousand times when January 1st rolls around and you have no regrets!

Your Goal:  Maintenance

In order to greet the New Year without tipping the scale, it is wise to try to maintain your weight during the next few months instead of trying to lose.   This means that you will allow yourself occasional treats and splurges and keep the scale where it is rather than trying to actually decrease your weight.

There are several ways to accomplish this:

  • Don’t skip your workouts.  Even moderate intensity workouts can burn 300-400 calories per hour.  You need this calorie-burn to keep up with the richer food that you will be eating.  You will also be less likely to overeat if you have just sweated through a hard workout!
  • Eat breakfast.  People who eat breakfast consume fewer calories throughout the day than those who skip this important meal.

  • Keep a food diary.  Write down every single thing you eat—even if it is only one bite of shrimp cocktail.  It is a proven fact that keeping a food journal results in better weight control than not keeping one.
  • Monitor your hunger.  Never show up at a party or buffet ravenous—you will most certainly overeat.  Drink water and have a protein-filled snack (such as nuts or cheese) before arriving. This will help you to have more self-control around the temptations.
  • Weigh yourself twice each week. Normally it is not a good idea to step on the scale too often, but during the holidays it’s a great way to stay on track with your goals.  If you see the scale start to creep, you can immediately take steps to correct it, such as backing off your calories for a day or two, drinking more water and adding in a little more exercise.
  • Watch your portion size.  If you have an idea of how much food you are putting on your plate, you will be less likely to overdo it.  Another tip, use a small plate.
  • Deal quickly with leftovers. If you have unhealthy leftovers in your home, you are likely to indulge.  Don’t leave them sitting around.  Freeze them, give them away or toss them.  It’s not worth the temptation!
  • Go public.  Sound scary?  It’s supposed to!  Let others know what your current weight is and check in with them each time you weigh yourself.  That kind of intense accountability will give you will power when the cheesecake and fudge starts showing up at the office!

One more tip (which came up at the Nutrition 101 roundtable yesterday) . . . schedule an event that you have to train for.  Something that gets you moving and in a healthier state-of-mind.  For example:  Holiday races/runs, trail run, mountain bike ride, etc.

Remember you don’t have to be perfect . . . Just be better.

Enjoy the Holidays but don’t use them as an excuse to go overboard or continue the massive eating.  Just enjoy the food you love but don’t inhale it.  Eat it, taste it, enjoy it until satisfied.

You can survive the holidays with no added weight gain.  (1) Remember these tips and (2) keep a vision of what you would like to feel like on January 1st in mind.

Questions?  As always, I’m only one click away ====>>.