No matter who you are, the weight-gain cycle can easily continue throughout the winter months, and by spring you can have 5-10 lbs to lose. Hold that pace for a decade and you will have gained 50-60 lbs. This is the way weight gain occurs – slowly, over the years.
The good news: While it can take a few to several years to gain 50-60 lbs, it can only take 6-12 months to lose it. So, when I feel the urge to write the annual “Holiday Weight Gain Article,” next year, perhaps I can feature the success stories of last year instead of trying to scare people into exercising and eating from healthy food plans.
Without a lifestyle change, including daily exercise and proper food habits, the annual 1-2 lbs of weight gain can lead to obesity, which gives you a higher chance of contracting other related health problems such as hypertension, stroke, and diabetes.
So how can people avoid adding holiday weight? Healthy food choices and more exercise – and a few extra tips:
1) Walk More
When safety is not an issue, try to walk further than normal when going about your normal routine. Burning a few more calories by walking is one of the easiest ways to take off that extra weight. Just twenty minutes of brisk walking can burn over 100-150 calories. That equals a cookie or soda in calories!
2) Get a Jump on Training
Resistance training will add muscle mass that in turn will burn more calories throughout the day. Get a jump start on your RT before the holidays start. A great idea is to include one more extra day of training a week to your regular training schedule. Including HIIT training will also be very beneficial… it burns a great amounts of calories in a short amount of time.
3) Continue to Drink Water
Water is going to naturally help you avoid eating as much if you drink a large glass 20-30 minutes prior to having a large dinner. Plus, water will keep you hydrated and help you burn fat more efficiently. Some people confuse hunger with dehydration. If you just drink a glass of water, that will often take care of the food yearning. This is not skipping a meal – just a way to work through temptation. An optimal level of water per day – as stated by the National Institute of Health – is 1/2 to 1 gallon a day. Add one extra glass (8oz) of water per every 10 lbs over weight too!
4) Eat Slowly
Eat very slowly and enjoy the flavors. Try to chew your food at least 30-40 times per mouthful. It works and will allow the “hungry- full” response from your brain to tell you are satisfied. It takes the brain about 20 minutes to let you know you are full. Stay away from buffet tables at parties and use smaller plates when selecting foods.
5) Brush Your Teeth after Meals
Right after eating a meal, especially dinner, go straight to the bathroom to brush, floss, and mouthwash so that your mouth is feeling nice and clean – this makes it less appealing to eat more (especially before bedtime). Ever try to eat or drink something after brushing your teeth? Not tasty!
6) Cardio Ideas
You can do cardio workouts such as walking, jogging, biking, swimming, rowing any day and it only takes 20-30 minutes to receive a good cardio-vascular benefit. Keep the heart rate at about 50-65% of your maximum heart rate. A good way to determine maximum heart rate is the theoretical formula – 220 – age = max heart rate
The best thing about this part of your workout is that you can do your cardio exercise around your neighborhood, on a treadmill at home, or at the gym if you choose. So on days when time is critical, get your cardio done or make those days one of your rest days (1-2 per week).