Eek! The holiday eating has begun - who among us didn't buy some Halloween candy for the "kids" and ate more than we intended ourselves! For most of us the overeating doesn't stop until January 2, when we mournfully step on the scale and let out a scream of shock and dismay. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years - we celebrate with food even while we become "too busy" to exercise.
Holiday Weight Gain is Not InevitableThe winter holidays don't have to mean weight gain. I lost 20 pounds from October to January one year while on a diet program and with increased walking and muscle toning exercise. It takes a lot of will power and wise food choices, but you can still celebrate the holidays without gaining fat. In fact, you may even take this time to improve your overall nutrition and fitness.
Turn Holiday Treats into StepsFirst, some tough love. Take a look at your favorite holiday treats and see how much you will need to walk to walk them off. Then you can decide how often to indulge.
- Halloween Treats Calorie Calculator
- Thanksgiving Calorie Calculator
- Christmas Calorie Calculator
- New Years Party Calorie Calculator
Move It!The first key to stopping holiday weight gain is to increase your activity level. If you are a weekend-only walker, now is the time to add a couple more daily walks to your routine. If you already walk three or more days a week, add another 15 minutes to each session. Add weight training to your routine - buy a couple of 3 pound or more dumbbells and a simple weight toning guide and get your arms and shoulders in shape. These toning exercises will build muscle tissue, which burns more calories while you are asleep or awake, and take only a few minutes a day.
10 Ways to Find Time to Walk During the Holidays
Exercise as Important as DietIncreasing the exercise is crucial, because any calorie-reduction you do will slow your metabolism. You need to offset that with increasing your metabolism through activity and exercise or you will end up losing muscle mass and feeling tired and worn out. Then if you shift back into a higher-calorie diet you will rapidly put back on any weight lost, but not as healthy muscle - as unwanted fat. Visit the Exercise site at About.com for great information and links on exercise.
Time Crunch? Make Walking Part of Your Celebrations"But Wendy, I'm time impaired!" you say. Turn your walking into holiday fun for yourself, relatives and friends. Walking even around the neighborhood for 15 minutes together will build your relationships. You don't have to watch the parades - BE THE PARADE! Plan a family/friends outing caroling or to an organized walking event. 'Tis the season for fun night walks and great holiday walkfests. The Hershey Holiday Walkfest in Pennsylvania is one such yearly extravaganza. Search the AVA's walking event calendar for events or year-round self guided trails in your area. Bundle up, take an umbrella, festoon yourself with holiday lights and enjoy the time together. And don't forget those chores that also burn calories and build muscle - raking leaves is highly aerobic!
Don't Eat Less, Eat BetterFruits and vegetables are your friends - if you don't like some of them, keep searching for ones you do like. Scrutinize your favorite comfort foods and figure out how you can remove some of the fat content and add some vitamin-rich vegetables or fruits to them. Lasagna doesn't have to be a heart-attack-on-a-plate! I substitute lower-fat cheese and meat, add spinach and other vegetables, increase the cancer-fighting tomato sauce, and I have a delicious and nutritious dish.
Healthier Holiday Recipes
Where can you find reliable nutrition information on the Web? There are plenty of sites, but if you want to avoid the fads and set good lifetime habits you need to get sound advice. Our own Nutrition site at About.com is a good source.
Fight Holiday Fat Before It's Too Late!Put on your walking shoes, eat for nutrition, lift a few dumbbells and you won't have to be fat for the holidays!
Join the Walk of Life 10-Week ProgramWant to start the battle now? Join my free 10-Week Walk of Life Program and each day enjoy walking, exercise, a nutrition tip, healthy recipe, walking lesson, motivation tip and a fun link.
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