HERE WE GO AGAIN – it’s the holiday eating frenzy. While some are sleeping with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, others are devouring sugar plums and a whole lot more.
Turkey with all the dressing, an assortment of pies, desserts galore, eggnog, cookies and an endless stream of chocolate laden goodies – the time from Thanksgiving to New Years is a very slippery slope for those watching their waistlines. Some people put on 5 to 7 pounds during the holiday season thanks to a steady diet of calorie-packed feasts and sweets.
However, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the average yearly net gain for most Americans is just over a pound. The problem is that people never lose that pound, which over a decade adds up to an additional 10 to 12 pounds. The situation is so prevalent in America that the fitness industry has a name for it – “creeping obesity.”
Here are some holiday eating strategies gleaned from various Internet websites to help you avoid becoming a creeping obesity statistic this holiday season.
Get moving. One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in regular, sustained aerobic exercise. The Cleveland Heart and Vascular Institute suggest aiming for 200-minutes of aerobic activity per week. However, any length of aerobics is better than none. So, hop on one of the many pieces of aerobic equipment at the MAC or, better yet, check out the MAC app and sign-up for some aerobic classes. Swimming in the pool also counts.
Plan holiday celebrations around activities, instead of food. Start a tradition of ice skating, sledding, skiing or snowshoeing as part of your holiday activities. Instead of riding around in a car to look at Christmas displays, park your car and walk around a neighborhood.
Concentrate on the quality of your holiday eating and not the quantity. Focus on preparing or sampling only one or two special foods that you really like at each holiday celebration.
Never skip meals before or after a big holiday feast. This practice creates a famine-feast-famine cycle that is definitely deleterious of your waistline. To prevent overeating at a party, drink a large glass of water prior to eating, don’t stand near a food-laden table, place food on a small plate rather than eating from the buffet and don’t eat while standing. To avoid the empty calories of alcohol – volunteer to be the designated driver.
Go to the back of the buffet line. Let others go first and, if you’re lucky, the most tempting and fat-laden items will be gone by the time you go through. Eat slowly and wait 20-minutes after you’ve cleaned your plate before going back for seconds.
Say no politely. Often, people feel obligated to eat because their host keeps putting food in front of them. Just say, “Everything was delicious but I couldn’t eat another bite.”
Socialize. Focus your energy on making conversation, instead of centering your attention on food. Conversation is calorie-free.
Get adequate sleep. Chronic sleep loss can affect your metabolism and influence your sense of hunger. Being tired, also, affects your ability to resists food temptations.
And finally, plan ahead. Schedule time for yourself and exercise during this hectic season. Prioritize the holiday celebrations you’re invited to and only attend the ones that are really important to you.
Be in control of, instead of being controlled by this year’s holiday feeding frenzy. Perhaps, you’ll be able to get into your favorite pair of jeans on January 1st without having to lie down on the bed.
Cord Prettyman is an IDEA Master Personal Trainer with 32-years of personal training experience. He works at the Montana Athletic Club in Bigfork, Montana and can be reached at the club at 406-837-2582 or directly at 719-761-8592.