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SAY NO TO WEIGHT GAIN! – STAYING ON TRACK THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAYS

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Did you know?

Statistics reveal that between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the average person gains 7-10 pounds.

If we’re talking average, that also means some people are gaining much more than just 10 pounds. – HELP is here! We can implement strategies to ensure that doesn’t happen to us!

Celebrations, holidays, family gatherings, and together seem to be synonymous with an abundance of food and usually, this includes high-calorie, tempting foods, indulgent treats, sweet drinks, and dessert lattes, not to mention alcoholic beverages that can break your willpower and put you in super surplus caloric overload in no time.

There are several ways to approach the big festive event without suffering the consequences of guilt, regret, bloating, weight gain, and serious disappointment in your lack of self-control!

Here are some strategic tips to help you combat the battle of overindulgence and help you make it through to the New Year in super slim mode, ready to start your on a high note!

  • Have a Plan of action: First and foremost, you must decide ahead of time what your plan will be; whether you will decide to avoid the pitfalls, you usually fall prey to and make a health-conscious effort to make wise choices, or whether you plan to indulge in some of your favourite treats and let loose. I strongly recommend that you set some boundaries and refrain from going ‘no holds barred’ and having zero restrictions. If you are going to choose to indulge (nothing wrong with having your favourite treat from time to time), consider these tips to help balance and offset the additional calories:
  • If your plan is to indulge, opt to fast for the day: (Unless you’re diabetic, or have any other serious medical conditions that restrict you from this practice) and save your eating strictly for the party. If this is not something you normally do, it’s a sound and strategic play. This helps you to keep your calories in check and balance your overall caloric intake, especially since you have already planned ahead of time that you’re planning to enjoy your favourite treats. You may even want to implement some intermittent fasting for the day prior.

  • Have It and Halve It: Implementing portion control will help you feel a lot less deprived. Enjoy and have that sinful dessert you love, but halve it. Minimize the serving size to help you satisfy your cravings, as well as help you feel in control.
  • Plan to exercise before the big event: Try to train for at least an hour, if possible, (as well as exercise regularly in the days leading up to the big event). If you can only fit a short session in, don’t discount the power in it. Even a 15 min. exercise session with elevated HIIT intervals and max intensity, amounts to a lot! I find that having time restraints can often help you stay more focused and more driven to work harder because you know you’re only in it for a short duration of time and therefore, motivated to cram in as much as you can. I’ve had some of my best workouts under these conditions. Try to incorporate some of your preferred training (i.e. weights, yoga, etc.) and follow it up with some cardiovascular exercise. – Burn, burn, burn to earn! Want the ability to eat more without packing on the extra pounds? Then you need to balance it out with increased energy expenditure to avoid the consequences of weight gain.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast: And plan to eat super light throughout your day if you’re not fasting.
  • Hydrate-Hydrate-Hydrate: Drink lots of water (flavoured with lemon, cucumber, etc.) or green/herbal teas throughout your day and if you feel some serious hunger coming on, eat vegetables and/or drink more water or a fat burner drink. Here are personalized recommendations. (Code SUSANARRUDA)
  • DO NOT wear elastic waistband pants or your “fat pants” to the dinner! This practice just encourages overeating and often, an unhealthy amount of limitless eating that will leave you feeling very unhappy with yourself after the big event. Remind yourself that you will have the opportunity to eat those beloved treats or your favourite foods again and instead, try to practice moderation. Avoid thinking, “This will be the last time I’ll ever eat this” Because it won’t be. Telling yourself that it’s the last time you will ever eat your unhealthy food of choice will only encourage you to eat more of it and it’s not realistic at all!
  • Make the focus more on the company, the socializing, and the people and not on the food: Catch up with family, and friends and enjoy the interaction with people more, not the food. Consider your main course to be the company and the food to be the side accompaniment.
  • Allot for alcoholic beverage calories: (If you’re choosing to drink) and don’t consume them on an empty stomach. Be sure to spread them out throughout your evening and/or be a super slow drinker and make the drink last! Pre-plan a ride home and of course, don’t drink and drive! If you volunteer to be the designated driver, you have the perfect reason/excuse not to drink!
  • Remove the temptations! If you are hosting the festivities, be prepared with containers and doggie bags to give away the leftovers. Be sure to get the unhealthy treats out of sight or out of your house if you can’t exercise discipline and moderation with tempting foods. Don’t keep them in your home and risk breakdown!

You can’t do anything about the past, so strive to keep a realistic perspective and move forward in a positive, productive, and proactive manner. Remind yourself that health and fitness is a lifelong journey so strive to be consistent, make it realistic and fun, and make sure it fits your lifestyle.

OH, OH, YOU DIVE-BOMBED! 

COPING STRATEGIES AND TIPS FOR THE DAY AFTER THE BIG FEAST: If you bombed with your eating at the party/holiday event and feel bloated and unhappy with yourself the next morning, make some additional adjustments the next day:

  • Perform cardio on an empty stomach: Within 30 minutes of waking.
  • Drink coffee: (Minus the sugar and cream) on an empty stomach to jumpstart your metabolism before your exercise.
  • Exercise for at least an hour! Try to also take an evening walk after dinner to rev your metabolism when it is generally slowing down.
  • Hydrate and drink lots of water throughout your day to flush toxins and waste out of your system faster. Regular flat and/or carbonated water will help give you the feel of “pop” and you can choose to flavour it with slices of citrus fruit or cucumber, herbs, etc. to enhance flavour and add nutritional value. If you drink kombucha, add some to your carbonated water for a natural pop effect.
  • Natural herbal teas: They are another source of fluids/hydration that can also help push things through your system faster. Fluids combined with exercise will work synergistically to assist in flushing toxins out faster.
  • Fast the next day OR reduce your eating to half or as little as possible: To compensate for the overeating, the best strategy is to under-eat the following day to offset the negative effects.
  • Planning is vital for success: However, take heart in knowing that one day of feasting will not undo all your overall healthy habits. The key is to stay positive and make efforts to move forward to correct the damage done ASAP. Avoid self-bashing as it accomplishes nothing and can set you further back and keep you backsliding. Get on top of it immediately the next day. You can’t do anything about the past, so strive to keep a realistic perspective and move forward in a positive, productive, and proactive manner. Remind yourself that health and fitness is a lifelong journey so strive to be consistent, make it realistic and fun, and make sure it fits your lifestyle.

I am extremely confident these strategies and tips when put into practice, can help you avoid pitfalls and/or minimize the downfall of the big celebratory feast. Remember that discipline is like a muscle and it gets stronger the more you use it!

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Susan has been training for over 40 years. She is a 6-time Fitness/Figure champion, a mom of 2, a workout creator and co-owner of SusanArrudaFitness, a personal trainer, swim coach, fitness model and author. Susan is passionate about training and living an active, healthy lifestyle and has been exercising since age 10.

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