Enjoy the Season Guilt-Free 2

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain By Moving and Splurging Wisely

The years seem to fly by, and once again Thanksgiving is upon us. So with the holidays arriving, are you ready? The next couple of months are full of parties, food, shopping, gifts and travel. While they are joyous and festive times, they often evoke stress, anxiety and often dreaded weight gain. The average adult expects to gain 5 pounds throughout the holiday season. Co-workers bring goodies to work. Parties are filled with those fattening treats. Food is everywhere. On top of that, our already busy schedules are squeezed even tighter, and we have less time for ourselves. It is more difficult to eat properly and fit exercise in; after all, there is a tree to decorate and gifts to wrap!

What if you could avoid putting on the “winter layer?” Each year, it is common to gain weight in the winter and then want to shed this winter layer in the spring. But each year it becomes harder and harder to lose the extra pounds. Wouldn’t it be nice to make it to spring without dreading looser clothing or getting the bathing suit blues? It is possible. It just takes a little effort and forethought.

I could tell you how to eat better and avoid those extra calories. But you have probably heard and read that every year. Drink more water, eat low-calorie healthy food before going to a party, choose the fresh veggies instead of the cheese ball, etc. I really think we all know that the cheese ball will make us fatter than the broccoli! Avoid too much alcohol, try not to snack, limit the gravy, butter and other sauces—these are very good tips. But what do you do if you want to indulge?

I believe in enjoying life and experiencing all it has to offer. I want to be able to eat some of those wonderful calorie-packed treats and enjoy my holiday meal without guilt or regret. The trick is to balance it out. Eat healthy, whole foods most of the time. When it comes time to splurge, do it on dishes that really are worth it to you and enjoy those thoroughly and without regret. The stress that regret puts on your body is worse than the splurge!

Exercise, or just plain movement, is really important as well. Exercise is not just good for the body, but also for the brain. And during the hectic holidays filled with stress, exercise is your friend for stress relief. Try to maintain your usual exercise regime, but if you can’t fit in your usual exercise routine, modify and use any opportunity you have to get in a few extra steps.

If you have a desk job, make an effort to stand up every 30 minutes, shake your body out, stretch and breathe deeply. Try adding a few squats by simply sitting and standing from your chair 10-15 times. This will work your leg muscles, circulate your blood and raise your heart rate slightly. Get a little creative to add movement to your day. Stand up each time the phone rings, tighten your abdominal muscles every time you hit a red light, do 10 pushups while watching the evening news, always take the stairs, park in the farthest parking place, walk faster and further everywhere or do some calf raises in the shower. See how creative you can be at sneaking in extra movement.

So eat, drink and be merry, but not too much! Enjoy the holidays now. If you fall victim to the season’s delights, there are always those New Year’s resolutions to make later. Remember the spirit of the holidays is family and faith, not food and fat. So try not to add too much stress to your life during this busy time and keep your body moving. Happy holidays!