Before beginning any exercise or dietary program, please talk to your health care professional.
The holiday season is upon us and soon the pounds will be too. Holiday dinners and treats change the way we eat. The added tasks needed to get through this festive time of year, change our daily habits as well. Instead of visiting the gym or taking a walk, we spend our precious extra time doing the holiday hustle and bustle.
The holiday season brings even more challenges for individuals that are rehabilitating, diabetic, or have other medical conditions. I don’t mean to dampen your holiday cheer, but research indicates that weight gain during the holiday season is typically on the order of 5 to 10 pounds. So, all that hard work from the past summer’s activities is gone in less than 5 weeks.
Make a change in your holiday celebrations that includes some new healthy habits that you can use year round. These changes will help to keep the overindulgence to a minimum by increasing your awareness, lessening your desire to overeat at holiday events (such as office parties and family dinners and outings), and increasing the time you exercise even with all the hustle and bustle.
Here are four weight control ideas including exercise, shopping, family activities, and daily eating habits you can incorporate in your routine to help you avoid or at least lessen the seasonal impact on your waistline.
Holiday Weight Control Idea #1: Increase Your Activity Level
The first idea is to include more “active” activities in your holiday routine.
- Take the stairs instead of elevators
- Park your car further distance from the entrances of malls and shops
- When visiting friends or family, walk or take the bus instead of driving
Holiday Weight Control Idea #2: Don’t Let the Weather Get the Best of You
Bad weather can pose a significant challenge to maintaining your usual level of activity during the holiday season. Rather than giving up on your activity during bad weather, find different location for exercise.
- Shopping malls welcome walkers during the hours prior to opening. Shopping malls are climate-controlled areas and offer a safe environment for exercise. Some local hospitals have walking clubs associated with shopping malls. The walks are scheduled at convenient times during the day.
- Check out your local physical therapist locations. Some offer state of the art technology to keep you moving without pain or further damage. Equipment can include pools, elliptical machines, or even an unweighting treadmill. The device is called an AlterG. To find a physical therapist or other provider of this unweighting treadmill click this link or visit www.alter-g.com/ find-an-alterg. This environment offers a safe, supervised and friendly location for exercise.
Holiday Weight Control Idea #3: Involve Your Family and Friends
A third idea is to involve your family and friends in your exercise routine. Holidays offer more opportunities for family togetherness and socializing, so find a way to make these interactions help you maintain your exercise routine.
- You might consider family walks or cycling trips around your neighborhood.
- Visiting friends in the neighborhood by taking after-dinner strolls together
- Caroling with friends or family can keep you moving yet not disrupt your holiday plans.
Holiday Weight Control Idea #4: Change Your Eating Habits
A fourth idea, my personal favorite, is to change the quantity of food and frequency that you eat. I know what you’re thinking, “but I’m so hungry and the food is so good”. Yes, it is, but if you increase the number of time you eat per day and reduce the quantity, you will be amazed at how your stomach (and brain) is so much more satisfied with small portions.
Here’s how you do it.
Always have breakfast first, making sure to have a protein and a complex carbohydrate in the meal. A great example of this is an egg (poached, fried, scrambled, or hard boiled) on a piece of whole wheat or oat butter bread. The protein and butter will keep you satisfied unlike a bowl of cereal that leaving you with a burning hungry stomach in less than an hour. I’ve had great success with this breakfast; it is low cost, quick and a nice easy habit to get into.
Sometimes I’m so busy I miss this one, but it is always quick and easy when I do need it. Keeping a stash of energy bars in my purse, coat, desk, and car is the best solution here. If you are feeling hungry at all, have one. Otherwise, you will over eat at lunch.
Again, keep it small. Instead of a whole sandwich eat half. It is a great money and calorie saver by finding someone in the office or home to split meals. If you’re by yourself, cut it in half and save it for the next day.
Late Afternoon Snack
This one is key to keeping your eating under control for dinner, parties and any other evening festivities. Eat a satisfying snack of crackers and cheese or chips and guacamole or some other type of healthy snack.
Eat a dinner meal comprised of a protein, veggie and salad. Notice the lack of the carbs? You just had carbs in your snack earlier and will not crave them during this meal. You will find combining the ‘Later Afternoon Snack’ and small smart dinner will have you full in no time.
Adding a modest aerobic activities and modifying your eating habits are ways to accomplish to beat the holiday weight gain season.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!