The holiday weight gain season is in full swing with your kid’s Halloween candy sticking to your thighs and a turkey dinner waiting on the horizon accompanied by a full course of sides. As Turkey Tom's gobbling draws near and standing on the scale is one of your biggest fears, avoid gaining the typical pounds of the season by following these three holiday belly bulge busters.
Don’t Stuff the Turkey
"You are what you eat" has even more meaning over the holiday season as pumpkin desserts bake in the oven, frosted gingerbread cookies are exchanged and homemade eggnog is mixed by the batch. To track the amount of calories you consume and avoid over-stuffing yourself, Dina Whalen, personal trainer and studio owner at Fitness Together Lynnfield, recommends using accountability tools such as a food journal and weekly weigh-ins to minimize the damage the holiday season can bring to your waistline.
“A lot of people don’t want to start the new year gaining 10 pounds and having to start over,” advises Whalen. “It’s an eye opener for people to track their calories. We go by the rule that if you bite it, you’ve got to write it.”
When you’re getting ready to hit the holiday party scene, it’s important to pre-party by having a protein-based snack like a handful of almonds or a yogurt to fill you up. When you’re at the party, it also can be a good strategy to focus less on the food they are serving at the buffet table and more on socializing as you move around to work the room. Avoiding fancy alcoholic drinks can help minimize consuming extra calories and alternating drinks with a full glass of water can be a wise choice as well.
Opt for a Trot Rather Than a Plop
Instead of sitting in the kitchen snacking as the holiday meal bakes in the oven or sitting in front of the television all day watching football, spend quality time with your family by getting outside and being active together. Thanksgiving day fitness events like turkey trots and boot camps are becoming popular traditions in communities all around the country so families can enjoy being active before sitting down for their holiday dinner. And, this time of year offers many fun, family-friendly winter outdoor activities such as ice skating, sledding, skiing and hiking. Spend your holiday weekends being active outside as much as possible to burn more calories and build fun family traditions.
“The holidays provide a great opportunity to spend time with your family,” says Whalen. “So, make sure you’re being active and having a fun time together.”
Save the Wishbone for Another Day
You can’t wish your way to avoiding holiday weight gain. But you can plan ahead to adapt your workouts to your changing holiday schedule. Whether you’re going on vacation or staying home for the holidays, you’ll face many distractions that can potentially throw you off your healthy eating and exercise game.
Gear up for the holiday season over the next few weeks by preparing for your schedule and lifestyle changes. Ask yourself:
- What’s my exercise routine going to look like over the holiday season?
- When do I have parties scheduled and how am I going to accommodate my nutrition and exercise plan for them?
- How can I squeeze in some extra cardio sessions each week to compensate for the extras of the holiday season?
“This is the holidays, so you do want to be able to enjoy it,” advises Whalen. “But, enjoy it in moderation and in a healthier way.”
Keep the bulge from moving into your waistline over the holidays by eating sensibly, keeping your calories accounted for and focusing on a consistent workout regimen. You'll feel much better about yourself and your body if you leave the extra holiday pounds behind after the season comes to an end.