Shopping malls are packed. Restaurants are bumping. Trees and ornaments are out in full force. Snow flakes are falling from the sky. For many people the holiday season is in full swing right now creating excitement and anticipation.
But what many people forget to mention to others about the holiday season is how stressful it is for them! While most children are obsessing about what gifts they are going to receive under the Christmas tree this year, most adults are worrying about how to NOT gain weight around their midsection.
So why do so many people struggle with maintaining their body weight going into the holiday season? In my opinion, there are two main reasons why people gain the few extra pounds each holiday season. Find out why so you can do something about it?
The 2 Main Reasons Why People Gain Weight Over The Holidays
Reason #1– People consume significantly more calories during the Holiday season attending festive parties, going out to eat instead of cooking at home and attending gatherings where calorie rich food is abundant!
Reason #2- People expend far fewer calories by moving less, exercising less and generally getting little if any physical activity during the busy holiday season!
What does this mean to the average person?
Law of Thermodynamics: If you consume more calories than you expend you will gain weight.
If you expend more calories than you consume you will lose weight.
If you consume and expend and equal amount of calories you will maintain your body weight.
5 Very Effective ways to NOT gain any weight this Holiday Season
#1. Eat Healthy! If you are going to be eating lot of food this holiday season(as most people do), you should try and opt for healthier options. This is common sense here although most people have trouble doing this during the holidays. Sauces, gravies, pastries, alcohol, cookies and stuffing can all be to blame for the extra calories(and inches around our waistline)! When you sit down to the dinner table for that “BIG” holiday meal, look at your options and give serious thought to what your about to eat. Healthy options are abundant, you just have to know where to look for them. For instance, eat the white meat of the turkey without the skin. This is healthier and more nutritious and cuts out a lot of the fat. Opt for drizzling extra virgin olive oil on top of your mashed potatoes instead of smothering them in Gravy. Eat the green beans almondain(green beans, slivered almonds and olive oil) instead of the calorie rich stuffing one platter over. Making simple but powerful choices at the dinner table can help you save an enormous amount of calories which will in turn help you fend off the unwanted weight come the New Year.
#2- Don’t pig out! Most people think that the holiday season means eating, eating and more eating. Just remember that the amount of food you put on your plate has dire consequences. Eat too much for Christmas dinner and you will be paying for it for weeks to come. You can start by just sticking to normal portion sizes. Most people would never in a million years go back for seconds and thirds during a normal meal but at a Thanksgiving type meal it’s a whole different story! Put plenty of nutritious food on your plate, arrange it beautifully and sit down and eat once! Skip the seconds and thirds. Roasted white turkey, with sautéed green beans, steamed carrots with a little fresh maple syrup drizzled over top, a delicious butternut squash soup, etc. could all be an incredibly healthy option, although if you eat 3 plates full your probably defeating the purpose and consuming far too many calories.
#3– Take your time! No one is going to take your food right out from under your nose so ask yourself, “What’s the rush?”. Many traditional Japanese cultures practice something called “Hara Hachi Bu” which literally means eating until your 80% full. The problem is, How do you know when your 80% full?” The answer lies in how fast you eat your food. Most American’s eat way too fast and by the time your stomach sends the signal to your brain that’s its full, you have already shoveled an entire second plate of food into your mouth. Eat slowly and consciously. You will enjoy your food more and easily sense when you are starting to get full. This principle could be mean the difference between losing that extra pound or fitting into that smaller dress size. And during the holidays, this could be just what you need to fend off any imminent weight gaining behaviors!
#4- Get plenty of physical activity! The holiday season is the perfect time to find types of exercise that you enjoy and do them with the people you love. And I’m not talking about running on a treadmill here or lifting weights while gazing into the mirror. Find something that YOU enjoy and ask a relative or friend to tag along. Get all bundled up and take your entire family for a walk in the park. Go for a bike ride. Pile your family into the minivan and take them to the indoor rock climbing gym(find one nearest to you by logging onto www.indoorrockclimbing.com). Bottom line here is that you can be very active this holiday season and have tons of fun while burning all the excess calories you have been consuming. I guarantee you will look and feel like a million bucks.
#5- Rest and De-stress!- Most people are totally stressed out during the holiday season and completely forget to sleep, rest or just plain relax. Remember, you don’t always have to be on the go. Make sure you spend a little time to yourself each day, even if its only for 10 minutes. Most people try to please others by doing 8 million things in a day. The holiday is not much of a vacation if you go back to work sick and tired from being sick tired. Get 8 hours of sleep a night and you will have the energy to go all day long without ever feeling tired and sluggish. If you do feel that way, it’s your body’s way of telling you that it needs a break!
1. Fill up on vegetables at the dinner table and have less room for all the other calorie rich foods!
2. Be thankful for what you have! No matter what life situation you may find yourself in, there is always someone who has it worse. Just be appreciative to have a roof over your head, a shirt on your back, maybe even a computer to actually read this article!
3. Tell your family or a significant other that you love them as many times as you can in a single day. Be creative, this can be really fun!
4. Do something spontaneous. Most people (including myself) have their entire holiday vacation planned out a week before it’s even here. Make sure you have at least one day where you do something spontaneous and exciting!
5. Write a letter to yourself listing all of the special qualities you believe that you possess. This is sure to make you feel warm and fuzzy on the inside! Bonus: Write an anonymous letter to someone you care about telling them how great they are. Slip it in their stocking or in their mailbox and it will have them guessing for weeks!
6. Spend some time outside with nature. Whether you simply go for a walk or a short bike ride, a deep breathe of cold fresh air will make you feel alive this holiday season. So step outside and breath it in……
7. Do something kind for someone and expect nothing in return. This could be as simple as smiling at a co-worker that you usually do not get along with. But be careful, being nice can be contagious.
8. Next time you’re at the drive thru at a Starbucks(or similar place), offer to pay for the person in the vehicle behind you. I have heard a story once that this took place for over 3 hours at a drive thru coffee shop in Seattle. How cool is that??
9. Write down some early New Year’s resolutions on a piece of paper. Talk about them with your friends and family everyday and chances are by the time New Years Day comes, you will have already made steps towards that goal. Just thinking about it is progress isn’t it?
10. Give some thought to what you really enjoy doing? Ask yourself, “If I didn’t have to work EVER again because I was super rich, What would I do with all of my free time?”. Whatever the answer is, DO MORE OF THAT. START TODAY!!!!
Give the Gift of Health this Holiday Season
*For a limited time offer, give the ultimate Christmas Gift this Year, “The Gift of Health”.
*Choose either 2 free personal training sessions, 2 free health coaching sessions or 2 free nutrition consultations for only $99. This is a limited time offer and cannot be combined with any other promotions. The normal price of $195 will be in effect as of 12:00 am MST on January 1st, 2010.
Please contact Curt MacNeill @ 720-261-5426 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!
Happy Holidays from Dr. Charley Cropley and Curt MacNeill CHC, CNE, CPT
-Certified Health Coach
-Certified Personal Trainer
-Board Certified in Holistic Medicine by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners
-Former Sponsored/ Professional Athlete