Fall Fitness and Fighting the Holiday Pounds

Fall is here and that usually brings family, friends and tons of extra food.   At the same time, with the changing weather, many people are giving up their outdoor fitness activities.  So…..more food, less exercise, and of course the added holiday stress—this forms the perfect storm for gaining 5-15 pounds over the holidays.  That’s all good and fine if you plan on hibernating or ditching most of your wardrobe and wearing stretchy pants all winter, but if you’d like to fight the good fight this year it just takes a little planning and a decision of what matters to you.

Forget the fad diets, forget the silly contraptions sold on late night TV, and please please please don’t fall for some celebrity spouting off about their awesome plan in a tabloid (because we all know their surgeon deserves the credit!).

In previous columns we’ve discussed ways to improve nutrition, improve our fitness, and even cut down our stress.  But for the holidays, we need some extra firepower.  First let’s get our priorities straight.  Remember we aren’t necessarily looking to make progress during this hectic time……instead, shoot for “MAINTAIN”.  If you can “maintain” during the holidays, you ARE WINNING!

How to get in exercise during the holidays:

• Go for a walk or exercise early before others get up and need “family time”.

• Walk after meals to give your metabolism a kick start and get some calories burning (note: walk, not any kind of intense exercise after eating)

• Make exercise PART of the family time….purposefully including physical activities kills two birds with one stone.

• Take classes somewhere that provides great indoor facilities while the temps are dropping.

How to fight off the extra calories during the holidays:

• Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and pretty much every fall/winter holiday means sugary foods.  Give yourself permission to have “some”.  Eating some sweets and foods that aren’t great for us is ok in moderation, and helps us keep our sanity.  Eating some prevents us from tormenting ourselves until we break—which then usually results in binge eating

• Up your water intake….besides having good hydration, it will help take up more room in your stomach and help avoid overeating

• Eat fiber….this isn’t just for older people, this is for everyone…increasing fiber in your diet will help slow the sugary foods from entering your system and spiking your insulin levels so severely.  So mix in some foods high in fiber with your meals before hitting that candy or pie etc.

How to fight stress during the holidays:

• Read! It’s a great way to escape and to get your mind off any stress that’s piling on you over the holidays.

• When you feel overwhelmed, breathe…..stop, clear your head, take 10 slow deep breaths and hit “reset”….if it doesn’t work….repeat.

• Go to bed 30 minutes early.  A little extra sleep or at least trying for it will help avoid the stress that comes with being tired and worn out all the time over the holidays.

You can win over the holidays.  Remember, MAINTAIN is our goal.  While others slip into the land of stretchy pants and putting on extra “layers” for the winter, YOU can maintain where you are and be way ahead of all those “other” people when we make it through the holidays and look forward to spring!

For more information about Fighting Holiday Pounds or if you have any more questions, suggestions and comments please contact Jeff Doursham at Jdousharm@windstream.net.