5 Tips for Holiday Eating, Health and Fitness – Cheers!
Holiday weight gain is all too common for many of us, and now according to a new research study, people around the world experience the same health and fitness struggles. In a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers tracked almost 3,000 people in the U.S., Germany and Japan. Every single person in the study gained weight from October to January, also known as our holiday season from Halloween through New Year’s Day.
“Some people …just give up on [weight management] during the holiday season. With Halloween candy, Thanksgiving and then Christmas, I think some people say, ‘I’m just going to deal with it in the New Year. It’s easy to get derailed that way.” -Domenica M.Rubino, M.D., of the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research in Arlington.
So what’s the trick to eating over the holidays but keeping those dreaded season pounds off? Plan ahead!
Start a Health and Fitness Program Now, Including Nutrition
By starting ahead or at the beginning of the holidays, it gives you some structure going in. And if you start thinking about it now, you’ll have a plan when you sit down at Thanksgiving dinner or head to a holiday party.
Party with a Purpose
Going into party season with your health and fitness goals in mind will help, but try not to go to a party already hungry. Follow your program and eat as you normally would. When you get to the party you’ll make better food choices because you didn’t hold out waiting for party food.
Traditions vs. Temptations
When you think of the holidays, a lot of those memories probably include food – whether it’s sweet potato casserole, whipped mashed potatoes, or the aroma of cutting into a turkey that has been roasting all day. But some of those traditional foods are not healthy. Instead of foregoing them completely, take hold of the temptation and focus on portion control. This is especially true for alcoholic beverages. Not only are some traditional drinks packed in calories, i.e. Egg Nog, but with every drink your inhibitions come down and you are less likely to stick with the good food choices.
Reduce Stress and Anxiety
The holidays can be incredibly stressful and many people use food and alcohol to cope. Instead, try staying mindful and using alternative relaxation methods. Get in a workout when you can, hit up a local yoga studio or spend some quiet time reading. And for an instant calm, try diaphragmatic breathing, also known as belly breathing. Focusing on this breathing for even just a few seconds can act as a calming mechanism to feeling overwhelmed.
When the weather gets dreary and cold, or you’re trying to maximize time with family, the physical movement goals in your health and fitness program may fall by the wayside. Using the plan ahead tip, try to think of activities or actions that can contribute to more movement. Visiting a museum and walking around, or even walking around a shopping mall, can help you get some walking in. Try to take the stairs whenever possible and make the most of hiking up a hill before you sled down it. There are always options to keep moving forward!
Let MTVAC Help!
No matter what your holiday plans, you know you’ll be tempted by treats and time away from your routine. That’s why MTVAC’s very own registered dietitian is stepping up to help! Renee McGrew, RDN is offering FREE nutrition workshops to members to help get you through the season without sabotaging your diet, health and fitness. This special workshop occurs ONLY 2 times in December- Contact a Client Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
Avoiding Holiday Havoc Workshops will be held in the conference room on Saturday, December 10th at 10:30am and Tuesday, December 20th at 6:30pm. Register at the front desk and see a client coordinator for more information.
Here’s to a wonderful season of memories and movement, not pounds! Cheers!