Thursday, November 8, 2007

5 Tips for Surviving the Holiday Season


5 Favorite Healthy Holiday Tips to start BEFORE Thanksgiving

Soon after Halloween (the beginning of the end), many of you begin to think of the holidays and all the happiness, joy, stress and guilt that comes with them. So begins the media hype regarding eating, drinking, and overall indulgence that leads us to the average 10 pound weight gain that we believe is inevitable.

It’s an emotional set up people! The toxic messages begin….eat more, drink more, buy more. Aren’t most of you doing enough of all that already? Those messages, along with the long standing, powerful TRADITIONS of your particular family unit may lead you to overindulge throughout the holidays and leave you feeling tired, depressed and frustrated come January.

This Year can be Different! You CAN go through the holiday season with a spirit of joy and hope with lots of energy and enthusiasm. With just a few small “attitude adjustments”, you can sprint into January feeling refreshed and revitalized.

Here are my Top 5 Tips for making it through the Holiday Season unscathed:

1. Have a meal replacement shake before attending a party.

Holiday Parties are loaded with irresistible, high caloric, high fat content foods and drinks. It’s a party and it’s the Holiday Season! You will indulge. You should indulge. But the last thing you want is to show up famished and take down a quick1000 calories before the band even starts. And that wouldn’t take much. Here are a few examples:
1 Mai Tai – 310 Calories
1 Strawberry Margarita – 210 Calories
2 Fried Won Tons 620 calories & 20 g. fat
1 Cheese Ball 155 calories & 14 g. of fat
1 Bacon Wrapped Smoky Link 167 calories, 11 g fat
- Total: 1152 calories, all of which could easily be consumed inside of 60 minutes

So, take in a healthy, protein rich (15-20g) shake before you go to reduce your appetite to avoid the additional calories. And only have one won ton!

2. Don’t keep trigger foods in the house.

Trigger foods, which are typically high in fat, set the stage for unrestrained eating, and contain hidden calories that subvert weight loss efforts.
You don’t need them and your kids don’t either.
The displays in the grocery store can be compelling, but the rule is simple: Don’t buy them and they won’t be a problem

3. Begin or Maintain a Regular Exercise Program NOW

Lots of folks conveniently defer exercise until after the 1st of the Year when the mystic weight lost elves will miraculously help solve both years of unhealthy diet and exercise and eliminate the seasonal weight gain …all within the magical month of January!
It always was and still is a fallacy. The only thing you’ll gain by waiting to begin an exercise program until January is a few more pounds.
Get started in November!

4. And make your Holiday Weight Loss Goals Net Zero

That’s right – plan to loose no weight at all
But plan to gain none either – net zero
Enjoy a few extra calories during the season, but burn them all off immediately with 3 strength training workouts and 2 hours of cardio weekly
Seek the advise of a Fitness Expert if you are new to exercise

5. Make your Holiday Fitness Goals Cardiovascular or Strength Related

Especially if your Health and Fitness Related Goals are weight loss, establish and reach NON-Weight loss goals of improved cardiovascular conditioning or improved strength in December! Improving your cardiovascular fitness levels and muscular strength now can set the stage for accelerated weight loss in January. Adding lean body mass (muscle, bone, blood) now means that you’ll burn more calories both when you exercise as well as when you’re at rest.

Cardiovascular or Strength related goals can be simple:

Walk every day of the week, starting with 10 minutes and add 2 minutes every day – you will be up to 90 minutes of walking by December 31st!
Do 3 pushups 3 times a week – you should be able to triple your repetitions in 6 weeks
Do sit-ups 3 times per week – you should be able to double your repetitions by boxing day

Or more complex:

Have a VO2 Max test done now, then …
Run, spin, roller ski or skate twice weekly 40 minutes at moderate intensity
Run, spin, roller ski or skate once weekly for 20 minutes at high intensity
Test again in 6 weeks

Have a sub max bench press and pull-up test done now, then …
Complete 3 full body resistance training exercises per week
Test again in 6 weeks