The holidays are in full swing – a time when lifelong memories are made with those we love. One holiday memory that is not quite as favorable is that of unwanted weight gain due to indulgence and characterized by overconsumption of calorie-dense foods. When combined with a deviation from a normal exercise schedule, this can produce less than desirable results.
Before you face the scale with unfortunate results on Jan. 2, equip yourself with the following tools to navigate the month with confidence:
Plan and execute. Before the rush of a busy week begins, schedule time for a walk, bike ride or a quick visit to the gym. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends we strive for 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise each week. If we break it down, that is approximately two percent of your day five days each week, which for most of us, is very reasonable. I am often asked what time of day is best to exercise, to which I answer, the time of day you will do it. If your days are packed with commitments, I highly recommend morning workouts, as the day tends to get away from us otherwise, leading to missed workouts.
Share the commitment. Tell someone who cares about your health your desire to avoid weight gain and maintain a workout schedule during the holidays. Accountability has been shown to increase success substantially.
Make it a group activity. Make movement a priority while spending time with family and friends. Include time during your visit to enjoy activities that allow you to walk, which will offset the feasting that accompanies family gatherings.
Portion control. Enjoy holiday feasting at a lighter level. For example, choose to use a smaller plate and cut a smaller piece of pie. Eat mindfully and savor every bite. As a trainer, it has been my experience that deprivation does not work, and it is not sustainable. Enjoy all food; just decrease the amount you consume. Be very mindful of alcohol consumption, which adds substantially to daily caloric intake. Before you attend a party, decide how much you are going to drink and when it will be time to switch to a nonalcoholic alternative. Sipping water in between cocktails is a great way to control consumption.
Balance intake with output. If your plans for the day include an event with high-calorie offerings, make sure you get your workout in prior to the party. You can also plan a walk in your neighborhood after a big dinner to work off the holiday meal.
I wish you happy holidays and a healthy, happy new year! Remember, fitness is progression not perfection. Keep moving … your body will thank you! QCBN
By Lisa Fry
Lisa Fry is the Health & Fitness Director for Touchmark at The Ranch. Her responsibilities include overseeing the Touchmark Health & Fitness Club, which is starting a 100-day fitness challenge in January that will include classes, course materials, and inspiration. The Club is open to anyone 50 years and older. To reach Lisa or for more information, call 928-708-3133.