Battling the Holiday Bulge: Tips to Help you Stay Trim, Fit and Focused

16 Nov

We all love this time of year. With the arrival of cooler weather, the holidays are upon us.  This is a time to relax and enjoy family and friends.  However, I think we can all agree that we dread the inevitable holiday weight gain and the work that comes later to get the weight off.  Here are some family friendly tips to help you stay fit and focused over the holidays.

Start a tradition: Plan an event on Thanksgiving morning such as flag football, kickball or basketball and invite your neighbors and friends.  What better way to kick off the holidays than by doing something active with the entire family.  Plus, these events foster a sense of community.  Use the time off to explore other local outdoor activities.  Whether it is cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, or jogging on the beach, get out and explore nature.  Sign your family up to participate in a race or other community activity that promotes healthy living.

Make an early resolution:  How many people list lose weight or get in shape as one of their New Year’s Resolutions? Why wait to start on January 1?  The perfect time is now.  Start your resolution early and beat the crowded gyms. You’re likely to receive better discounts and more personalized service prior to the New Year.  Many local gyms offer fun kids’ activities during the holidays, ensuring your children will enjoy going.  When January comes you will have already developed a well-established pattern and will be more likely to continue. Furthermore, being physically active promotes the desire to eat healthy. So, while you still might indulge in holiday treats, you will be less likely to “over-do” it.

Prepare for holiday parties and events: One of the greatest challenges over the holidays is resisting the urge to over-indulge in holiday treats.  If you’re like me, you often find yourself showing up to holiday parties hungry, and fighting off the urge to stand by the hors d’oeuvre table sipping wine, and munching on spinach dip and wheat thins.    Preparation is the key.  Always eat before you arrive.  Showing up at a party having not eaten is like grocery shopping hungry; you’re setting yourself up for failure.  Ensure you have a satisfying meal beforehand.  As soon as you arrive, pour yourself a drink of water with lemon.  Having a drink in hand from the start limits your ability to eat a lot.  You also might consider packing your own treats.  Dark chocolate almonds always feel like an indulgence to me.  They satisfy my sweet craving and are a better option than many of the treats I’m likely to find at a party.

So why wait?  Get a jump-start on managing your health over the holidays by establishing active traditions for the family, setting early resolutions, and being prepared.  Putting mechanisms in place to help you successfully navigate the obstacles of holiday weight gain will ensure you start the New Year in a good place.  Be active, eat well, and enjoy the spirit of the season.

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