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Angie Willson

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Holiday weight gain is far too common. I’m not sure what the percentages are but many people will gain several pounds of fat over the month for the holidays. Then the pattern of eating continues past the holidays and the weight doesn’t come off. People will wait until January to start the New Year with a resolution of losing weight and getting fit.  Most of us have been there. I know I have been many times.

This year, refuse to let that happen. Time to change the habit and make that New Year’s resolution now. Don’t wait until the New Year, don’t wait until Monday, start today! I realize that may not sound like fun, but trust me, you will be much happier with the outcome in January. Here are some tips to help you get started on the right path today!

Hire a coach:
I can’t stress how important this one is. We can all use the help! Not only will your coach provide you with a meal plan to follow, but you will have someone to hold you accountable. A good coach will also provide motivation and guidance to help you stay on plan.

Always plan ahead:
This one is quite simple because you know when you will be attending events and gatherings ahead of time.  Eat a healthy meal or snack before you go so you aren’t as hungry and prone to binging when you arrive.

Stay away from sugar:
This is one of the most challenging things for me because I definitely have a sweet tooth. Try to fill up on extra protein and veggies so you are too full to want the sugary treats. Eating extra protein will keep hunger at bay and will reduce your appetite as well.  Good sources of protein are lean meats, fish, eggs, and beans and load up on all the veggies. If you need the sugar, pick one thing that you love and stay away from binging on several desserts.

Get lots of sleep:
Most of us don’t get enough sleep which tends to make us hungrier and eat more in general. Set a good bedtime schedule and get that Zzzs.

DO NOT skip the gym:
As the weather gets colder and it gets dark earlier, you may want to just head home and lounge on the couch. Pack your gym clothes and make it a habit to get that workout in before you pack it in for the day.

Don’t beat yourself up if you mess up:
This is probably the most important lesson. Give yourself permission to enjoy some of the things that you love. However, don’t give up and abandon your goals and progress. Just get back on track the next day!

By following some of these tips you will be on the right path in no time! Happy Holidays!

People can get obsessed with the scale, especially when starting a new workout plan or diet. The scale can be your worst enemy for several reasons, especially when it comes to tracking progress during weight loss or your fitness journey.

Your body weight can naturally fluctuate throughout the day due to factors such as water retention, food intake, hormonal changes, and digestion. These fluctuations can give a misleading impression of progress, leading to frustration or disappointment. The scale doesn’t differentiate between muscle and fat. As you engage in exercise, especially strength training, you might gain lean muscle while losing fat. Muscle is denser than fat, so even though you are getting healthier and more toned, the scale might show an increase in weight or no change at all. Weight alone doesn’t provide a clear picture of your body composition. Someone with a higher muscle mass might weigh more than someone with a lower muscle mass but have a healthier body composition. Relying solely on the scale of progress can lead to an unhealthy obsession with numbers.

Fluctuations or slow progress can lead to feelings of discouragement, disappointment, or failure, affecting your self-esteem and motivation. Weight loss doesn’t always occur linearly. It’s common to experience plateaus where the scale doesn’t budge even though you’re making positive changes. Relying solely on the scale might make you abandon your efforts prematurely. The scale also doesn’t measure important health indicators like fitness level, energy levels, sleep quality, or overall, well-being. Focusing only on weight can lead to neglecting other aspects of your health.

Weight loss doesn’t always occur linearly. It’s common to experience plateaus where the scale doesn’t budge even though you’re making positive changes.

It can also be a comparison trap. Comparing your weight to others can be counterproductive and damaging to your self-esteem. Everyone’s bodies are different, and progress varies from person to person. Rapid initial weight loss can motivate you initially, but as progress slows down, your motivation might wane if you’re solely focused on the number on the scale. Weight loss should ideally be a byproduct of adopting healthier habits, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet. Relying solely on the scale might lead to neglecting those long-term sustainable changes.

To overcome the negative aspects of relying solely on the scale, consider using alternative ways to track your progress, such as measuring body measurements, monitoring fitness improvements, and keeping a journal of non-scale victories such as improved energy or better sleep. Focus on how you feel both physically and mentally. Remember that health and well-being are multi-dimensional, and a healthy lifestyle is more important than a specific number on the scale.

Taking progress pics can also be a valuable tool when following a new diet or fitness routine. Unlike the scale, progress pictures provide a visual record of your journey. Seeing positive changes can be very motivating as you will notice improved muscle definition, better posture, and confidence.

If you are struggling with body image or weight-related concerns, consider seeking support from a healthcare professional.

Photo By: Jackie Vann

Staying on track with your eating during the holidays can be challenging, but with some planning and mindfulness, you can enjoy the festivities without derailing your health and fitness goals. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  • Set Realistic Goals: Understand that it’s okay to indulge a bit during the holidays, but also set realistic goals for yourself. Decide in advance how you want to approach your holiday eating and what you’re comfortable with in terms of indulgence.
  • Plan Ahead: Before attending holiday gatherings or meals, plan your day’s meals and snacks. If you know you’ll be indulging in a big holiday dinner, try to eat lighter meals earlier in the day.
  • Practice Portion Control: It’s easy to overeat during the holidays when there’s an abundance of delicious food. Use smaller plates, take smaller portions, and savour your food slowly. This can help you enjoy the flavours without overindulging.

If you’re attending a potluck or gathering, consider bringing a nutritious dish you enjoy. This way, you’ll have a healthy option to fill up on.

  • Choose Mindfully: Be selective about what you put on your plate. Focus on your favourite holiday dishes and skip foods that you can have any time of the year. Prioritize protein, vegetables, and healthier options.
  • Stay Hydrated: Sometimes, thirst can be mistaken for hunger. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help control your appetite. Consider having a glass of water before each meal to help you feel full.
  • Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcoholic drinks can be high in calories and can also lower your inhibitions, leading to overeating. Consume alcohol in moderation and intersperse it with non-alcoholic beverages like water or sparkling water.
  • Be Active: Incorporate physical activity into your holiday routine. Go for a walk, engage in a family-friendly game, or do a quick workout. This can help offset some of the extra calories you may consume.
  • Practice Mindful Eating: Pay attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. Avoid mindless snacking in front of the TV or while socializing.
  • Bring a Healthy Dish: If you’re attending a potluck or gathering, consider bringing a nutritious dish you enjoy. This way, you’ll have a healthy option to fill up on.
  • Stay Accountable: Share your goals with a friend or family member who can help keep you accountable. Having someone who supports your choices can make it easier to stay on track.
  • Don’t Beat Yourself Up: If you do overindulge at one meal or event, don’t dwell on it. Accept it as a part of the holiday experience and get back on track with your healthy eating plan the next day.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. The holidays are meant to be a time of joy and celebration, not guilt and self-criticism. If you slip up, forgive yourself and move forward with your goals.

Remember that the holidays are about more than just food. Focus on spending quality time with loved ones, creating meaningful memories, and practicing gratitude. Finding a balance between enjoying holiday treats and maintaining your health is key to staying on track during this festive season.

When it comes to achieving your fitness goals, exercise is undoubtedly important. However, it’s crucial to recognize that proper nutrition plays an equally significant role in your overall fitness journey. One of the most effective approaches to nourishing your body and enhancing your performance through clean eating.

What is eating clean? Eating clean refers to consuming whole, minimally processed foods that provide maximum nutritional benefits. It involves steering clear of highly processed, refined, and artificial ingredients that can undermine your health and fitness goals. Clean eating is about making conscious choices to prioritize wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that nourish your body and support your active lifestyle.

Benefits of Eating Clean for Fitness:

  • Improved Energy Levels: Clean eating emphasizes nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. These foods provide a steady release of energy, which is crucial for fueling your workouts and performance throughout the day.
  • Enhanced Recovery: Proper nutrition plays a vital role in post-workout recovery. Eating clean ensures that your body receives essential nutrients, such as high-quality proteins and anti-inflammatory compounds, which aid in muscle repair and reduce exercise-induced inflammation.
  • Body Composition and Weight Management: Clean eating promotes a healthy body composition by providing your body with the necessary nutrients while avoiding excessive calories and unhealthy additives. By focusing on whole foods, you can support your weight management goals and achieve a leaner, more toned physique.
  • Increased Mental Clarity: A clean diet nourishes not only your body but your mind. By avoiding processed foods and artificial additives, you can experience improved mental clarity, focus and overall cognitive function. This can positively impact your workouts and help you stay motivated throughout your fitness journey.

Clean eating is about making conscious choices to prioritize wholesome, nutrient-dense foods that nourish your body and support your active lifestyle.

Tips for Incorporating Clean Eating:

  • Prioritize Whole Foods: Opt for unprocessed, whole foods whenever possible. Fill your plate with a variety of colourful fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and unhealthy fats.
  • Minimize Processed Foods: Reduce your consumption of processed foods, which are often high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and preservatives. Instead, choose fresh ingredients and prepare meals at home, allowing you to control the quality and content of your meals.
  • Read Labels: When purchasing packaged foods, read the ingredient list carefully. Avoid products that contain artificial additives, excessive sodium, or refined sugars. Choose foods with recognizable, simple ingredients.
  • Plan and Prepare Meals: Dedicate some time to meal planning and preparation. This practice will help you make healthier choices throughout the week and reduce reliance on fast food or unhealthy convenience options.
  • Stay Hydrated: Hydration is a fundamental aspect of clean eating. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall well-being.
  • Practice Moderation: While eating clean is about choosing nutrient-dense foods, it’s also important to practice moderation. Allow yourself the occasional indulgence to maintain a balanced and sustainable approach to clean eating.

Eating clean is an integral part of your fitness journey, providing your body with the necessary nutrients to fuel your workouts, optimize recovery, and achieve your goals. By prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods and minimizing the consumption of artificial additives and processed foods, you can experience improved energy levels, enhanced physical performance, and better overall health. Embrace clean eating as a sustainable lifestyle choice, and watch as it transforms your fitness journey from the inside out.