TWELVE DAYS until Christmas! I just love this time of year. However, the holiday season is oftentimes detrimental to one’s waistline. I read a study recently that stated that the average person typically only gains one pound during the holiday season (glad I am above average at something…). One pound isn’t all that bad, but the study also states that about 80% of people who gain that one pound never lose it. So over ten to fifteen years, you are looking at some potential damage.
What is one to do when there are so many tasty and amazing treats around all month long? Here are the tips that have worked for me. I am calling them The Twelve Tips of “Fitmas” as we start the Christmas countdown today:
- 1600 calories = One pound of fat. Four glasses of wine a week = 1600 calories. Totally not fair, right? What I have found has been helpful for me is alternating my drinks between wine and water. You can even make a wine spritzer with seltzer water. That creates the illusion you are drinking more than you actually are.
- Choose desserts wisely. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scarfed down a cookie and thought a minute later, wow that wasn’t even worth it. I try to make the desserts I choose over the holiday season something I REALLY love. It’s a special treat, just like it would be any other time of the year.
- Go for the healthier appetizers. Steer clear of the fried appetizers, or ones made with a ton of butter or cream. There almost always is a veggie tray, and shrimp cocktail is a great lean protein to eat!
- Plan ahead. My husband always makes a protein shake before we go to a holiday party. It curbs his appetite and I am always impressed with how few appetizers he consumes (then there’s me, taking two of each). But what I try to do before a holiday party, is eat something with high protein and fiber (like a hard-boiled egg and a piece of fruit) so I stay full for longer and don’t over consume on junk.
- Drink lots of water. Water naturally detoxes the body and boosts your metabolism. It also gives the feeling of being full, allowing you to make healthier decisions.
- Bring a healthy dish. I always volunteer myself to bring the roasted vegetables at Thanksgiving. I know exactly what ingredients were used, and tend to eat more of that dish.
- Watch portion sizes. I remember listening to a nutritionist a few years ago. He emphasized that carbs are not bad for you but the average person often consumes three times the normal portion size. For protein, think a deck of cards as the portion size. For carbohydrates, it’s 1/2 a cup and for fats, it’s one tablespoon (so watch all the dips full of fat).
- Be mindful. It’s easy to start talking and eat mindlessly while you are distracted. A good way to eat with intention is by putting a few appetizers on a small plate. Limit yourself to just those.
- Stay consistent in the gym. Keep up with your fitness schedule. I know this time of year is hard because of the busy schedules and cold weather but making your fitness a priority will keep you on track and prevent that holiday weight gain. Sweating also helps decrease bloat.
- Try HIIT. Sometimes I don’t have 45 minutes to do cardio, so I do short fast bursts of high-intensity cardio followed by active recovery for 30 minutes. (example below). This burns fat at a faster metabolic rate, and for me, I find that I am more mindful of what I consume after a hard workout. Why would I ruin a good workout with something that is horrible for my body?
- Look to the future. Maybe you have a trip planned for the New Year, or an upcoming race. Whatever it is, keep that in the back of your mind when making food choices this season.
- Stay active. It’s hard this time of year to want to spend much time outside. Do something fun with your family, take a stroll around town to see holiday lights, find a place to ski or go snowshoeing!
As promised, I have included in this blog post one of my favorite HIIT Treadmill Workouts. I have used this specific workout with numerous clients and is one of my go-to’s when I am crunched for time. You will see on the chart below that there are three columns. The first is the clock time on the treadmill. The second is the length of time of the interval (in minutes). The third column is the speed of the treadmill. You can adjust the speed to make it easier or harder. As you will see, I start with a 90-second speed interval, over the course of the workout, that decreases down to 30-seconds then increases back to 90-seconds. I call this a Pyramid HIIT workout. You will also notice that as the time of the high-intensity or speed interval decreases, the speed of the treadmill increases. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me!
Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!