Holiday Fitness Tips

For many, the season of unhealthy holiday eating begins all the way back in October with Halloween. Two Snickers bars for the kids, one for mom; five Twizzlers for you, two for me. Then, before you’ve even had time to catch your breath – or loosen your belt – the Thanksgiving eating extravaganza arrives. Immediately after Thanksgiving come seemingly endless Christmas parties, work functions and social events. More food, more cakes, more sweets, more choices.

While previous studies suggested that the average weight gain during the holiday season was 5-10 pounds, more current research shows that the reality for most people is a much more modest 1-2 pounds. However, according to a 2012 Boston Globe article by Dr. Suzanne Koven, that 1-2 pounds is weight most people never lose. And, over the course of multiple decades, that weight gained during the holidays, and retained permanently, eventually turns into obesity.

Don’t let this year’s holidays derail you from the strides you have made towards reaching your health and fitness goals.

How to survive:

Do eat-
Let me explain. Don’t arrive to the festivities in a state of ravenous hunger. Eat some protein and good carbs (veggies, nuts, fruit) before you go. The holiday season is not exactly the right time to start a diet, but you can start a routine. There will be food everywhere, mostly bad carbohydrate foods, some heavy protein, and lots of sugars and fats. Stay away from the overload.

Do take leftovers-
But be wise. Everyone knows it’s almost impossible to leave friends and family without taking leftovers. That’s fine, but make your own plate. Pack the protein, leave the dressing, leave the gravy, and, yes, leave the dessert. Remember, we first eat with our eyes. Seeing food can trigger the desire to eat. If you really need a finishing sweet, grab a piece of dark chocolate and some berries – both are full of antioxidants.

Do stay away from high caloric drinks-
They will surround you, and they are everywhere. For example, most eggnog drinks contain 350 calories per glass, and most people have way more than just one glass. Have a taste and enjoy yourself, just don’t overindulge.

Do sleep-
The body, central nervous system, and brain recover during restful sleep. Your social calendar can cause some stress on both. Deprivation of sleep results in over exhaustion, which can cause weight gain. The more tired you are, the less likely you will be to work out and the harder it will be to control your eating habits. Sleep. It is immensely important.

Do increase your workout-
During these days we tend to get lazier. We grab our plates, sit around the TV and watch a movie. Of course these are times to share with loved ones, but increasing your workouts will give you an edge.

Do keep your goals-
This time of year is perfect time to reflect. Look back 12 months ago and see your accomplishments. Begin to write new goals, i.e.: work out three times per week, do 5k run or two, or attempt to learn a new sport. Be adventurous, be specific, and note a timeframe for your goals. Post them where you see them. Setting and achieving goals will change your life.

Do drink water-
Most of us don’t realize the amount of calories we consume by grabbing something other than water. Fruit-juices, mass-market drinks, energy drinks, and coffee (with cream, sugar, etc.) will add a massive amount of empty calories to your diet. Reach for the water; don’t deny your body what it really needs.

Do stay committed-
It takes an average of 27 days to develop a new habit. Prepare yourself mentally and physically. Prepare your kitchen and your grocery list. Clean the unhealthy foods out from your refrigerator and your pantry. Challenge yourself for 30 days. For example: weigh your foods; eat clean; eat more vegetables; and/or stay away from sugar, grains, rice and breads.

Above all stay safe, enjoy your family and friends, love everyone, and share memories.

Edwin Morales is the owner of Crossfit CVI in Pompano Beach. He is an ex-military and law enforcement officer, and is passionate about helping people from all walks of life achieve their health and fitness goals. For more information, visit crossfitcvi.com, call 954-972-4284 or email edwin@crossfitcvi.com.

Edwin Morales :