I often hear people stressing out about gaining weight through the holidays. Is it a fair concern? It is considering the volume of food and caloric density of all the food eaten on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years not to mention the constant holiday parties. However, below are some tips to make it through the holidays and come out after the New Year just fine.
1. It is not the holiday’s fault … What I mean by this is that Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, your birthday, your spouse’s birthday, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day are only 8 out of 365 days. You may come up with another 10 days a year that are splurges, but these 10-20 days are not the cause of America’s weight gain. Enjoy these celebrations and don’t worry about it! Make sure the other 345-355 days are the days you are eating healthfully.
2. Holiday Parties … These are different from the actual family feast on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s… these are the parties you find yourself invited to through the week during the holiday season. Eat tapas style … small plates … small servings… and choose two healthier choices for every splurge. Enjoy only one beverage that contains calories.
3. The candy and sweet baskets at work … if you must, treat yourself to only one a day, and enjoy it.
4. Don’t skip meals … this will help you during the holiday feasts not to eat as much. Eat a healthy breakfast, snack healthfully and drink plenty of water especially before the “Big Meal.”
5. Plan, Plan, Plan … this simply means be thoughtful about the meals you are eating on a regular basis during the holiday season. Think through your week ahead of time. If you are traveling on the road, pack a healthy meal in a cooler. If you are going to be in restaurants, check out the menu online before going and go ahead and make the healthy decision before you arrive.
6. Eat Light at Home … plan your grocery list for the week … make your refrigerator and cabinets at home a sanctuary of clean, whole foods. Keep your refrigerator full of vegetables and fruit. Purchase 5 different green veggies and 5 other vegetables of different colors as well as 5 different fruits. Buy a variety of beans, nuts and seeds. Purchase whole grain brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain cereal, and quinoa. You can find plenty of recipe ideas on the Internet. Vegetable and bean based soups and salads made with citrus dressings, nuts and seeds will keep you full and healthy. Keep your refrigerator and cabinets free from “junk food.” If you don’t have the processed food and “junk food” at home, guess what? You won’t eat it!
7. Stay Active … make sure to schedule your exercise time into the week. Pick out 3 days with one hour dedicated to exercise. Put it in your calendar as a scheduled appointment. Don’t break the appointment. Treat it as an important meeting you have with someone very important … YOU. If you have an unavoidable situation arise simply reschedule. There are 168 hours in a week. Commit 3 of them to exercise!
Julian Kaufman has been working in the fields of fitness, nutrition and wellness for 18 years in the Chattanooga area. He has a degree in Health & Exercise Science from Furman University, M.ED from Covenant College and is certified through the NSCA – CSCS and USA Track & Field. He is the owner of Fitness Together Chattanooga a one on one personal training studio located in 2 North Shore. He also serves at Baylor School in sports performance training, fitness and wellness.