Health & Fitness
Top Tips for How to Stay In Shape During the Holidays
Gobble, gobble, gobble. ‘Tis the season for chowing down and over-indulging. In other words, it is the most wonderful time of the year. Starting in late October, I start counting down the days until Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. Why? Because it’s a day of eating, drinking, reflecting on our blessings, and more eating, followed by leftovers. And eating. While I believe every bite is worth it, the truth about how calorie-laden our intake is, can be frightening.
One year at our Thanksgiving feast, there were 12 guests at our table. Every person that made a dish divulged how many sticks of butter were used in the food that they brought. We determined there were 12 sticks of butter used. Yes.
That is: ONE STICK OF BUTTER PER PERSON.
While no one (at least in my family) has any interest in altering recipes, there are a few things that I am going to share with my peeps about ways we can maintain our girlish figures without going nuts or getting completely radical. (Again, not having stuffing is not an option).
Fitness expert, friend and “master body architect,” Torre Fitz, of Fitness Fusion Los Angeles, offered me these phenomenal tips about ways to enjoy the holiday season (food, fun and all) but still stay on track. One hint: Don’t stop working out!
- 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. Take a look at the chart to familiarize yourself with portion sizes as they compare to your hand.
- 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!
- Check in with your future self. Every day, speak to yourself from the future—say, from January 1. Thank yourself for doing the tough work of self-discipline during these holiday weeks. You might say something like this:
“Thank you! I feel great! I’m no heavier than I was in November, I’ve stayed on track with my exercise, my energy is incredible and I’ve got the momentum to spend the rest of the winter getting in even better shape before spring gets here!”
- 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!
You CAN survive the holidays with no added weight gain. Remember these tips and keep a vision of what you want to feel like on January 1 in mind. It’s going to be a great holiday season!