BEAT THE HOLIDAY BULGE!
By Monica Concha, Personal Training Manager at CLAY Health Club + Spa in Port Chester
It’s that time of the year again! Yup, you guessed it – weight gaining season, and no not for the purpose of competing in some sort of strong man/woman competition or prepping for a body building show. It’s that time of theyear where you look around and its “pumpkin everything” and comfort foods galore. The sun sets earlier, the weather gets chillier, and next thing you know the weight starts piling on by the pound (no pun intended). Contrary to popular belief, there’s a way to enjoy the holidays without gaining all those unwanted lbs. Its true – you CAN enjoy those delightful treats and specialty foods while still maintaining your sanity and not budging that scale. The first step in resolving this matter is coming to terms withyour own worst enemy –yourself! The problem that we tend to have during the holidays is the pre-mediated fear of over consuming the foods we look forward to having. Some of us become obsessive over the *possible* (key word) weight gain that has been so freely associated with the holiday season. Truth of the matter is, we don’t have to gain any weight at all. In all the years of my personal training career, I have repeatedly stated to my clients that I do not believe in food deprivation. Everything can and should be enjoyed in moderation, even happy juice aka wine, beer, and all that jazz (I can sympathized with those of you who enjoy your cocktails being as how I have been a bartender for many years)! The objective here is to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. I’ve listed some holiday tips that can help you approach the holiday season without hesitation. Worst case scenario, you gain some weight and before you know it its January and you’re jumping on the New Year’s resolution band-wagon of losing weight. On the bright side, you may need some assistance with a customized nutrition plan and some personal training, in which case you can then hire me and I’d be more than happy to help hahaha!
How to beat the holiday bulge:
1)Take a deep breath. No seriously, do it. When you walk into a holiday party or family gathering, take a deep breath and do not get overwhelmed with the amount of food that will appear before your eyes. You are not being forced to eat so do not stress yourself out before the indulging even begins.
2)Exercise, duh. It may sound silly to you, but it’s true. This is the time of the year where we come up with every excuse in the book as to why we are too “busy” to exercise. I understand that there are lots of things going on during the holidays, but if you are worried about gaining weight then you should try and make time to work out. Whether it’s doing pushups under your desk to avoid doing any “real” work, chasingaround your adorable puppy that just peed on your new carpet, or doing squats with your toddler, just move around for Pete’s sake! Exercising burns calories and releases endorphins (the happy chemicals), woo-hoo!
3)Do not, NOT eat. In other words, do not fast hours upon hours before feasting. The last thing you want to do is starve yourself before a big meal. Fasting may lead to binging and that is the last thing you want to do to your body. If you happen to have an encounter with too many carbohydrates just make sure that the following day you consume protein in each of your meals to satisfy your heighten appetite.
4)Drink lots of water. Water itself does not miraculously make you lose weight the minute you consume it, but it does aid in your weight loss. Accordingly, I am not saying that drinking water is going to satisfy your appetite by any means, but drinking water before a meal can help you feel fuller and may help you avoid overeating. Drinking those 8-10 8oz glasses of water a day is a great way to promote general health. Keep in mind that alcohol consumption and excessive sodium intake during the holidays will result in dehydration so make sure you drink enough water to keep you hydrated and balance out your electrolytes.
5)“Stop! Collaborate and listen.” Stop consuming foods and drinks that you know are going to make you feel crumby. Listen to your body. There are certain foods/drinks that our bodies are much more sensitive to than others so why even risk having them? Aside from any food sensitivities we may have, remember that any sodium or sugar overload that we take in during the holidays will cause bloating. Bloating will lead to water retention and will trick you into believing that you gained 5 pounds easily overnight. Unlike the bloat you get from excessive amounts of sodium, the bloating from carbohydrates can potentially result in weight gain. Simple carbs turn into sugar which can then cause you to gain weight if you are consuming too many and your body is not using them.
6)Be smart. If you’re going out to a holiday party/family gathering, try and eat a little something before you go so that you are not arriving on an empty stomach. Choose a healthy high fiber snack or some protein. Once you have arrived at your destination, try and make as many healthy choices while still enjoying the not so healthy options, in moderation of course.
7)Enjoy. The holidays are not about food. The holidays are about spending time with family and friends and appreciating the memories being made. There’s no need to over eat or even to under eat! Enjoy these moments, for it’s the little things in life that make us whole and happy J