Overcome Holiday Weight-Gain Challenges

Overcome Holiday Weight-Gain Challenges

It starts with an innocent taste of Halloween candy and ends with a smorgasbord of chips and dip on New Year's Day, that joyous but body-expanding time known as the holidays. Most people gain only one pound over the season, but the problem is that they never take it off! That can add up year after year.

Here are a few tips to tackle challenges that the holiday season can throw your way.

You Are Staying With Relatives and Not Near Your Gym

  • If you're staying somewhere where there are children, use their energy and do something like play basketball or go to a park," says Robert Marks, a trainer at 24 Hour Fitness in Scottsdale.
  • "Another idea is to purchase a conditioning band kit (available at most 24 Hour Fitness locations) – several flexible bands with handles that enable you to do resistance exercises on the road. Get one and take it along."

You Are Traveling By Car or Plane and Sitting For Long Periods of Time

  • Buy a pedometer and shoot for 10,000 steps a day at your destination.
  • "Be creative, take a power walk in the airport with your heavy backpack; do stretching exercises at rest stops on car trips. You can also do basic lunges or squats," says Marks.

You Have a Busy Schedule Full of Shopping, Parties and Cooking

  • "I would tell my clients that if they don't exercise around the holidays, it sounds like a time management issue. Schedule things out to get everything done, instead of just guessing what will happen," says Marks.

Uour Family and/or Relatives Center Their Holiday Gatherings Around Food and Inactivity

  • Participate in a Turkey Trot or Jingle Bell run or walk around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights.
  • Take advantage of winter weather and ski or go ice-skating.
  • "If you're in better physical shape than other people your age, don't feel like you have to sit with them on the couch. Ask other adults to throw around a football," says Marks. "If you think about it, you're not working over the holidays so you should have a little extra time to be physically active."

Diet Challenges

you are up against hosts or family who insist that you eat rich food

  • Jan Shwarts, a registered and licensed dietitian in Richardson, Texas, says sometimes it's best to be honest: "Tell them that you can't eat it for health reasons, adding 'please don't be offended'," she advises. "It's hard to say no, but if you think of it in terms of clogging up your arteries, eating more than one bite of that rich food is not worth it."
  • Eat small amounts of various foods, as opposed to large portions of a few foods. Sampling a bit of everything will leave you feeling more satisfied.

You Are Preparing the Holiday Meal This Year

  • Delegate so you don't have to spend as much time in the kitchen.
  • "When you are doing the actual cooking, have healthy snacks available. For instance, fat-free chips or grapes. Sometimes I chew gum while cooking to avoid munching on food," says Shwarts.
  • Prepare healthier versions of traditional dishes.

You Have Two Holiday Parties In One Day – and Co-Workers Are  Bringing Out Candies and Cookies at Every Turn; Your Resistance is Weakening

  • Eat something before attending those parties; don't skip meals before a celebration.
  • Keep a small arsenal of delicious but nutritious snacks in your office desk or in your purse. "At the office... just don't go into the break room," says Shwarts.
  • Reward yourself for eating healthy food with an extra round of golf, new clothes or a manicure. You can overcome these obstacles and make it through the holidays in great shape!

You can overcome these obstacles and make it through the holidays in great shape!

New England Journal of Medicine
Robert Marks Trainer Fit Pro Elite 24 Hour Fitness Scottsdale, Arizona Club 205
Jan Shwarts RD, LD in Richardson, Texas

This information and other information on this site is intended for general reference purposes only and is not intended to address specific medical conditions. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice or a medical exam. Prior to participating in any exercise program or activity, you should seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any medical condition.