As the holidays approach, a frequent question from my clients and subscribers is, "How can I avoid gaining weight during the holidays?"
Their concern is legitimate. The average American adult gains seven pounds of fat between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.
However, with a little know-how and effort you don't have to be "average". In fact, I've seen many people actually lose a few pounds over the holidays and feel great while doing it.
One of my clients said it best, "Greg, I can't tell you how good it feels to have lost three pounds during the holidays instead of gaining ten pounds as I used to do. My friends are jealous. It's January 2nd and I'm feeling (and looking) lean and mean. And, best of all, I actually enjoyed the holidays more because I always felt energetic. In years past, inactivity and lots of food made me constantly sluggish and tired."
Here are a few tips that can bring you into the new year without any new pounds . . .
1. Do some type of exercise every day, preferably every morning. Now this can be as simple as a 15-minute walk some days but it's VERY important that you do something every day. Physiologically, this keeps your metabolism elevated, helps to control your appetite and ENERGIZES you!
Mentally, daily exercise increases your mental acuity for hours after exercise, and it keeps you in a "healthy" frame of mind. Many people tell me that daily exercise helps them to make better food choices because it makes them feel like they are doing something healthy for themselves.
Commit to doing at least 15 minutes, but preferably 30 to 60 minutes every day during the holidays.
2. Don't deprive yourself of those holiday goodies that you enjoy. Tell yourself that you can eat whatever you'd like to as long as it's in moderation. For example, eat one Christmas brownie instead of five. Take small bites of that brownie, chew it well, savor every bite so you can really enjoy the taste rather than rushing to swallow it. The same for meals: don't deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy, but eat them in moderation and savor every bite.
3. Have lots of "healthy" foods available at your home during the holidays. Make a big fruit salad to keep in the frig when you need a snack. Have some of your favorite veggies ready to eat for when you're hungry.
4. Don't allow yourself to get too hungry. The hungrier you are, the less control you have over your eating. Always eat some healthy, filling food before going to a party, dinner or any situation where you'll be exposed to lots of tempting food.
5. Strictly limit or avoid alcohol. Alcohol is really bad news! I call it the "triple whammy"! It depresses your metabolism, stimulates your appetite, and it's loaded with calories. Alcohol has as many calories per gram as fat!
So, get energized with some daily exercise and moderate food consumption, and REALLY enjoy the holidays. AND January 2nd.
Author and exercise physiologist Greg Landry offers his free "Metabolism Challenge" and free weight loss information at his site. http://www.Landry.com