By Jordan Rudolph —
Although the holiday season brings friends and family together with lots of good cheer, it also happens to be one of the most stressful times of the year. People gain the most weight during November and December, which is no surprise since stress is correlated with high weight gain (not to mention holiday parties with copious amounts of alcohol and sweets).
Every year, we hold a holiday challenge at Unity Fitness to promote proactive thinking, reduced stress, happiness and results! We don’t ask our members to lose weight over the holidays; we challenge them to simply maintain their weight.
Here are the top tips I share with our members, presented to help you thrive during this holiday season.
Tip #1: Plan the next two months by writing down every party, event or gathering you will attend. This enables you to plan around those parties and make sure you’re staying on track with no surprises.
Tip #2: Make sure you work out on the day of the party. This doesn’t have to be a workout that burns a million calories. It’s meant to stimulate a better mood and give you power over your day. Anything counts, but I would recommend hitting a total body strength workout with complex movement patterns. Even a walk will do you wonders on these days if you’re not into strength training. Don’t think of this workout as your excuse to “let loose” during the party; it’s designed for accountability, focus and lower stress.
Tip #3: Drink a boatload of water. With the added intensity of alcohol and sweets, water consumption tends to take a back seat. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces each day and add a couple of glasses before any event to help you feel full. Drinking enough water won’t burn more fat, but not drinking enough water will halt any fat-burning in its tracks.
Tip #4: Eat veggies and protein first, and eat plenty of them! Eating your veggies will help you feel full because of the fiber and slow-digesting carbs. Fill your plate with whole-food veggies and make a salad. Veggies in a casserole or hot dish don’t count for this one (even though we all try to justify it). Protein will work too because it takes a longer time to digest, keeping you satiated. Protein also sends a hormone called ghrelin to your brain to tell it that you’re not hungry anymore. If you don’t know these foods will be available at the party, squash the unknown and be the one who brings the veggies (or an alternative healthy dish). Even if the other guests don’t eat it, at least you can!
Tip #5: Be happy and ENJOY the feast. Load your plate with a little bit of everything. You can try each dish and not feel bad about missing out or upsetting someone; just keep the portion sizes small (except for the veggies and protein). And remember, just because you have it on your plate doesn’t mean you need to finish it.
Enjoy the football, enjoy the family and friends, and enjoy the food. Cheers!
Coaching at Unity Fitness goes further than these tips. If you’d like to participate in this year’s “Holiday Hold ‘Em Challenge,” please give us a call at (608) 788-0441 and we’ll make sure you’re exercising, eating and thinking right for your health and fitness goals this holiday season.