The holidays are typically a time where you fall short in the gym and slack off from your typical routines leading to muscle loss, weight gain, and a strong desire to get back on track in the weight room once January rolls around. And with family obligations, traveling, and delicious meals, it's no surprise that belt lines tend to expand.
The good news: You aren’t destined to gain the holiday pounds. In fact, with the right program in place and proper planning, you can maintain your fitness levels while still enjoying time with the family.Studies have suggested that small doses of regular exercise (10 to 20 minutes at a time)
can result in temporary mood improvement or anxiety reduction.
These are just a few tips to help you stay on track during the holiday season. If you fall off track, no worries! Just have a plan of attack for the next big event rather than making the same mistake over and over. With consistency comes change.
1. HOW MUCH TO EAT
When you eat healthy foods, you don’t have to worry much about calories. Appetite-control researchers have found that your brain may monitor how much you eat based on the weight of your food. One study discovered that people automatically stop eating when they consume a particular weight of food, regardless of the amount of fat or calories.Still, you need some measure of what you’re taking in so you don’t overeat—or undereat, which can slow your metabolism. You must estimate your portion sizes, which you can do with a wave of your hand. A three ounce serving of lean meat (your main source of protein on this plan) is about the size of your palm. A cup of starchy carbs, such as from potatoes or rice, is the size of your clenched fist, while a serving of fruit is one whole piece or one cup. A tablespoon of healthy fats from oils like olive or coconut is roughly the area of your thumbnail, and a serving of nuts or seeds amounts to a handful.
2. 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, which means a slow eater will consume less calories before feeling full than someone who races through their meal. So rather than attempting to finish your plate first, see if you can outlast the competition by being the last to finish.
3. KEEP UP WITH YOUR NUTRITION
When looking at brain chemicals signaling "pleasure," scientists have found that we receive less pleasure the more we eat of a food. So rather than feeling like you must eat a full serving of every dessert at a holiday meal, take a bite or two and receive 90 percent of the pleasure at 10 percent of the calories. Celebrity nutritionists suggest stocking up on watery vegetables and fruits like celery, lettuce, cucumbers, watermelon, oranges and grapes to banish bloat.
The feeling of hunger is often confused with dehydration, so be sure to drink an 8-ounce glass of water 20-30 minutes prior to each meal to avoid overeating. Staying hydrated will also help you burn fat more efficiently.
5. HOME WORKOUT
Exercise raises levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone, while reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels. Los Angeles–based celeb trainer Ramona Braganza, who has helped shape the amazing bodies of stars like Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, and Anne Hathaway. Try any one of these, and you'll boost your metabolism for up to a whole day afterward. One small workout, one giant payoff.
For even more fun and less structure, turn up the volume on some of your favorite songs and dance. Dance to your two favorite current songs and three you haven't heard since "back in the day" and you've got yourself a 20-minute workout while dinner is on the stove. Dancing can burn more than 200 calories in just 30 minutes, Try doing push ups, dips, jumping jacks or burpees during the choruses.
7. GO FOR A WALK
If you are too lazy to do your exercises, walk for about 20 - 30 minutes daily. Go for an early morning walk in the cool clear air or for a night walk before going to bed. To make it more fun, you can ask your friends or family join you. Just twenty minutes of brisk walking can burn over 100-150 calories. That equals a cookie or soda in calories! When walking outdoors is not an option, do laps inside your local shopping mall. For the average person, a brisk one-hour walk can burn 300 to 400 calories.
Good luck with the Holidays. You will feel better after any type of exercise compared to not having done any activity. Go outside and enjoy your fitness! Whether that be going for a hike, swim, run, or bike ride, go outside and play a sport and HAVE FUN!