Well it is that time of year again. Time to eat, drink, shop, and be merry. The perfect time to add 5 or 10 pounds more weight to lose for the New Years Resolution. It does not have to be that way. No one should look like they stole the cookies and milk from Santa at every house in their neighborhood come the first of the year. Besides if you share with the big man he just may take care of you.
Here are some tips to survive this holiday season:
1) Eat before you leave. Showing up at a gathering hungry is one of the worst things you can do.
2) Stay hydrated. Do not allow thirst to be confused for hunger.
3) Hit the vegetable tray first and often. Skip the dips.
4) Load up on shrimp and crab legs if your host is a big spender and put them out. Skip the crab dips, it is not really crab anyways.
5) Go easy on the sausages, cheese, and crackers.
6) If there is a meal, follow the rules in the Eat by Color article. If you have not read the article, do so next. There will be a quiz later and those that have not read it will fail.
7) If one must drink, have a glass of water or diet coke for every alcoholic beverage.
8) Dessert, have some. Some, not one of every cookie and pie on the table. Eat what is enjoyed or seasonal; not the fruitcake just because it is there and no one is eating it. What is in fruitcake anyways is it even cake?
9) Pass taking left overs home. Eating them will not help the starving of the world.
10) If too many adult beverages are consumed, pass the keys to some one responsible. Drinking and driving is never acceptable. Plus it is the holiday season and the roads are shared with Santa, his elves, and eight reindeer.
“I must have gained 10 pounds on Thanksgiving I ate so much…”
Let’s get something straight. No one is going to get “fat” from eating a bit extra a few times this holiday season. But if one does so every weekend from Thanksgiving to New Year’s all bets are off and Santa may have some competition next year. One pound of fat contains a theoretical 3500 calories. So to gain one pound of fat an extra 3500 calories (that is roughly equivalent to 7 Big Macs!) would need to be consumed. Someone eating normally eating 2000 calories a day that would be 5500 calories or an extra day and a half worth of food. Though possible it is not likely. In fact most weight gained from 1 day (not 1 month) of overeating is water. A person that has been eating healthy and exercising may even see a slight decrease in fat weight days later as a day of over eating can crank up the metabolism.
“I ate enough today for the next week. Looks like I will be skipping a few meals tomorrow…”
Point number two to get straight. Skipping meals is a sure way to tell the body it is starving and to store fat. This is a great way to make sure instead of enjoying an increase in metabolism from eating a bit extra that the metabolism grinds to a halt. The best thing to do after a holiday is to wake up and eat a normal breakfast. Then eat every few hours, don’t skip meals.
“I’m gonna pound out a few extra miles on the treadmill this week to work of this meal…”
Point number three to get straight. Eating 1000 calories and burning 1000 calories does not take net calories to ZERO. In other words, calories burned during exercise will not come from that extra piece of pumpkin pie. The calories burned will come from the pie over-indulged in, muscle (remember more muscle = faster metabolism), and body-fat. So forget pounding out a few extra miles to burn off what you ate a day earlier.
Exercise as a daily activity is the best way to combat holiday weight gain. Cardio can help. Weight training is better. Weight training before a big holiday meal is king for controlling fat gain. Sparing the science, less fat is gained if exercise (remember weight training is King) is done before the meal. So hit the weights, do some cardio, and then feast.
Here is a great approach to cardio: 2-3 times per week do one of the following:
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
Jog for a two minutes
Sprint for a minute.
Repeat 6 times and cool down for 2 minutes.
Warm up on your favorite piece of cardio equipment for 3-5 minutes.
Go all out for 3 minutes (if adventurous and on a treadmill sprint for a mile)
Cool down for 2 minutes and go home.
Holidays are about time with family and friends. A time to catch up, share a laugh, create a memory, and help those that are less fortunate. If able to do that be grateful. Not everyone will be with loved ones this holiday season. Remember those not here and enjoy yourself. Have a few things you do not normally eat and a few drinks. If gone overboard, get back on track the next day. Save some cookies and milk for Santa and GET “EAT by Color.” to make your resolutions a reality!
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