The holiday season traditionally begins during the fall with the harvest of some of our most beloved foods and continues through the rest of the year. I personally love fall because I love pumpkin and apple pie and I’m talking Apple Pie ala mode baby! The truth is, Halloween starts us off with lots of candy and sweets and is the beginning of the sugar, fat and calorie binging season. And before you can come down from your sugar high from eating all that leftover Halloween candy, you have Thanksgiving followed by Christmas or Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve to contend with. By the time the New Year rolls around you will probably be finding yourself in what I call the dieter’s hole. So how do you mitigate the damage done while still enjoying family, friends, food and drink? The idea is not to skip the holiday festivities or to give up eating the traditional holiday foods we all love so much, but instead to approach the holiday season with a plan that won’t put you in a deficit at the turn of the New Year. Loading up on sugar and fat and tons of calories will make you tired and lethargic, making it harder for you to reach all of your goals. The extra weight just makes you tired!
The last thing you want to do is start the New Year off having to deal with the 10 extra pounds you just put on.
What I do to help me survive the holiday, some helpful tips:
– When you have a holiday party or event to go to, eat before you go. Have a small healthier meal that includes protein so that when you get to the party you can enjoy the holiday goodies, but, won’t feel the need to over indulge. Good suggestions include a whey protein drink or a handful of raw almonds (both are good for you and will satiate you).
– Maintain a workout routine during the entire holiday season and up your cardio by 15 to 30 minutes a day to help compensate for the extra calories you want to have the freedom to take in. I personally walk 45 minutes a day either at the gym on a treadmill or in my neighborhood. During the holidays I increase that to 60 minutes a day and I don’t miss my daily workout time.
– If you want to drink, stay away from the sweet mixed drinks and stick with white wine, light beers and alcoholic drinks that don’t have lots of juices and sugar flavored mixes. You can easily drink down 500 calories and more in just one mixed drink and you DON’T want to do that!
– Set limits for yourself. And control your portions. Don’t say NO, say WHEN! And stick to your plan.
Make a resolution now. Your future begins immediately and everything you do affects what happens next. Instead of digging yourself out of a calorie hole for the New Year you can come out of the Holidays looking and feeling great and maybe even better than before the holidays.
If you decide that you are going to make a New Year’s resolution that involves losing weight and being fitter and you want to start a diet and workout plan, don’t over burden yourself with a plan that forces you to give up all of the things you love all at once.
Back when I had a personal training business and I was training new clients who were just getting started in a weight loss and fitness program, I started them off slowly by adding workouts 3 times a week that included cardio training and I always suggested that they make small incremental changes to their normal diet habits. In my experience, when I worked with people who wanted to do a complete 180 lifestyle change overnight, they almost always ended up failing. It is not necessary to overhaul everything in your life all at once. Incremental changes that you can stick to will give you great results and can always be added to as you progress. All of my clients enjoyed success and did not have to feel deprived of all of life’s simple pleasures and the weight loss was permanent.