How To Enjoy Your Holiday Season Without Gaining Weight

Christmas fitness woman wearing santa hat

The holiday season is officially here!  I personally love this time of year and my desire for you is that you would enjoy everything the season has to offer without the notorious weight gain that the media and diet industry warns you about constantly.

You may have even heard or read recent media reports that the average weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is seven to ten pounds.  Holy cow!  That number seemed high to me so I did a little digging and fortunately, it’s turning out to be a myth. The truth is the average person gains about one to two pounds during the holiday season.

With that being said, I’m guessing you’d rather not gain ANY weight this holiday season so I’ve put together a list of simple ways you can enjoy yourself without adding on the extra pounds that can come along with it.

  1. Set realistic goals.  If you are currently losing weight, congratulations!  During the holidays I recommend you give yourself a break and set a very vital yet realistic goal. Maintain your weight. If you maintain your weight, you’ll already be ahead once January rolls around.
  2. Exercise.  Now is not the time to stop exercising. As tempting as it is to skip exercise to take care of something else on your to do list, you want to burn calories so you can enjoy the special treats without the unwanted pounds.
  3. Plan ahead. Schedule all your commitments for the season on your calendar. This will help you plan your exercise time.  You may decide to exercise at home rather than drive to the gym. Try a mini-trampoline or an exercise video.  Or, take your workout outside and go for a hike or a walk.  Being outdoors is a major stress-reliever.  On days that are tightly scheduled, commit to a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise to keep your momentum and your metabolism boosted. Something is always better than nothing.
  4. Do some offline shopping. You can get in your exercise while supporting your local businesses and salespeople. Win-win.
  5. Pay attention to portion sizes. Take larger portions of the fruits and veggies and smaller than normal portions of the richer fare like scalloped potatoes, prime rib, desserts, etc. Watch the dressings on the salad — put it on yourself and be conservative. Go for the dressings that will drip to the bottom of the bowl. Consider trade-offs such as if you have a glass of champagne, you may want to have just a bite of dessert.
  6. Wear form-fitting clothes. This is a great way to keep weight from piling on. You will know if your weight is out of whack if those jeans feel a bit snug. This will help you take action before things get out of control.
  7. Lighten up traditional recipes. Got to have your pumpkin pie? That’s okay! Choose lighter recipes than the more traditional fare. Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines; however, there are many recipes on the web that have been modified to reduce calories and taste delicious.
  8. Avoid showing up to a party hungry.  This is huge!  Keep fruit, nuts, energy bars, shakes, whatever is your go to snack, with you.  Or, if you’re at home, eat a small meal before you head out to the party. When you are overly hungry, you can mindlessly overeat.  The tiny quiches look way more appealing than the fruit and veggie platters when you haven’t eaten for hours. Start with a glass of water and then check out the food platters.  If you are dehydrated the body will use hunger to signal thirst.  When you are properly hydrated you will feel more satisfied and full after eating.
  9. There are only a few days that are actual holidays–eat normally the rest of the days. When you treat every day like it’s Thanksgiving Day with the excuse “it’s the holidays,” you are at risk of packing on the pounds.
  10. Use a Fitness Tracker.  Most smartphones come with health apps that allow you to track your steps.  Things like household chores and walking at the mall all count as exercise.  The more physical you get, the more calories you burn.  Keeping track of your activity levels can help motivate you to squeeze in extra steps throughout your day.

Most importantly, have fun!  Stress can contribute to weight gain so be gentle on yourself.

Here’s to a happy, healthy, and super blessed holiday season!

With Love,
Jennifer

Have a comment or question?  Please leave it below.  I love to hear from you!

 
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Enjoy The Fourth Of July Without Worrying About The Weight Gain

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Two years ago our dog (Dillon) and I marched in our local parade on the Fourth of July. It was super exciting to be part of the celebration honoring the birth of our country and the people who fought for our freedom.  Our sweet Dillon went on to be in Heaven a little over a year later.  I will always be grateful for the memory of that special Fourth of July I shared with Dillon and the rest of our town.

However,  I have a confession to make.  There’s another reason I had agreed to do it.  I wanted the exercise.  It seemed like such a great way to get my workout in for the morning and celebrate at the same time.

One of my secrets to weight management without dieting is to get exercise on days I will be indulging. I don’t use this method only on the Fourth of July — I practice this principle all summer long!

Here are a few simple tips to help you enjoy your holiday without worrying about weight gain:

1) Exercise. If you are walking in your local parade, this is a great way to get exercise. Committing to an event will help keep you on track when you might be tempted to “blow off” exercise.

You don’t have to be in a parade to get exercise on the fourth.  You and your family and/or group could walk or hike before all of the grilling starts. Try calling to set it up in advance. If it’s too tough to fit in — plan fun, active games.  You can have a blast and help prevent the mindless snacking that can occur while visiting.

2) Go Light. Having a potluck? Bring the lighter version of your traditional dish. Something as simple as substituting regular mayonnaise with the light version can cut back significantly on calories! Google is great for helping you find the lighter fare without compromising taste. Ask other friends if they want to bring light dishes as well. If appropriate, why not make “cooking light” the theme?

Choose leaner meats for the barbecue. A Kielbasa sausage has 330 calories. That doesn’t include the bun.  Substitute with a chicken sausage that has 170 calories.

3) Make calorie conscious choices.  Enjoy the spread, however limit foods like chips and dip. A couple handfuls of chips and two tablespoons of dip is usually a serving and can have 200 calories easy! Load up on fruits, veggies, and green salad. Take smaller “taste size” portions of the heavier dishes like potato salad. This allows you to keep from feeling deprived and stay on target with your weight loss/management goals.

Substitute sparkling water or plain iced tea for sweet tea, energy drinks, and soda. Wine and beer have a lot less calories than blended “umbrella” drinks. If you plan on drinking some of your calories, you may want to skip dessert or vice versa.

Make a plan before the party starts. For example if the tea is sweet, I”ll choose water.

4) It’s only one day.  You have to really pig out to gain weight in one day. However, the fourth can set the tone for the rest of the weekend and even the summer. If you overdo it, get right back on your normal eating and exercise plan the following day.  It may take some self control, but you’ll feel better in the long run.

Have a super fun and safe Fourth of July!  Go out and create amazing memories with the ones you love that you will cherish forever.

God bless you and  America!
Jennifer

How To Enjoy This Holiday Season Without Weight Gain

It’s that time of year again! The Christmas decorations are going up and the parties have already begun.

Personally, I am so excited we are entering this time of year! However, from years of experience in the fitness industry, I know some of you are already thinking about how to enjoy the holidays without the weight gain. You might even be a bit nervous about succeeding.

The good news is it is totally possible  to enjoy the holidays without the weight gain!  All you need to do is follow some easy tips:

1) If you are currently losing weight congratulations! During the holidays, I recommend you set a very vital yet realistic goal. Maintain your weight. If you maintain your weight, you are already ahead when January comes! Keep it simple and realistic.

2) Now is not the time to stop exercising. As tempting as it is to skip exercise and snuggle on the couch with a glass of wine or cup of your favorite hot beverage, you want to get your calories burned so you can enjoy the special treats without the unwanted pounds.

3) Plan ahead. Schedule all your commitments for the season on your calendar. Schedule exercise time too. You may decide to exercise at home rather than drive to a gym. Try a mini-trampoline or an exercise video.

On days that are tightly scheduled, do your best to commit to a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise to keep your momentum and your metabolism boosted. Take advantage of every opportunity to be active that comes up.  Something is always better than nothing. Every minute of exercise counts!

4)  Do some off line shopping. You can get in your exercise while supporting your local businesses and salespeople. Win-win.

5)  Pay attention to portion sizes. Scan the table before serving yourself to help you plan your meal. Take larger portions of the fruits and veggies and smaller than normal portions of the richer fare like scalloped potatoes, prime rib, desserts, etc. Watch the dressings on the salad– put it on yourself and be conservative. Go for the dressings that will drip to the bottom of the bowl.

6)  If you do not already track your daily calorie intake, consider keeping track for the next 26 days to catch any potential weight gain before it happens.

Remember, it boils down to calories burned versus calories consumed, so choose treats wisely. Most of us only need about 1500-2000 calories daily, depending on the type of exercise we do and how much “lifestyle” activity we do each day. Save the higher calories for super special treats. Trade-offs work well. For example, if I have a glass of champagne, I will probably have only a bite of dessert.

7)  Wear form fitting clothes. This is a great way to keep weight from piling on. You will know if your weight is out of whack if those jeans feel a bit snug. You can take action to prevent further gain. – Courtesy of InStyle magazine

8)  Lighten up traditional recipes. Got to have your pumpkin pie? That’s okay! Choose lighter recipes than the more traditional fare. Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines; however, there are many recipes on the web that have been modified to reduce calories and taste delicious.

9)  Avoid showing up to a party hungry. Keep low calorie snacks like fruit with you.  Eating something before you arrive will keep you from eating mindlessly. When you are starving, the tiny quiches look much more appealing than the fruit and veggie platters.

10) There are only a few days that are actual holidays–eat normally the rest of the days. Allow yourself to indulge on the actual holidays themselves — like Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve.

On the rest of the days, stick as close to your normal healthy eating plan as possible. If you allow yourself a daily treat, that’s the time to work in a small piece of peppermint bark, or a small cookie.

Use these tips and you can enjoy the holidays without stressing out about the weight gain

If you have any personal secrets to keep you from gaining weight during the holidays, I’d love to hear about them.  You can share them by leaving a comment below!

Blessings to you and yours!

Jennifer