Preparing for the Holidays

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It is interesting that people typically put off fitness goals until two specific times each year; New Year’s and right before summer. In both cases it is a reactive sort of plan. Before summer you want to slim down so you can proudly hit the beach or pool and right after Christmas everyone wants to take off the holiday weight. Why not plan for something preemptive instead of reactive?

Generally as fall hits people go into a slowdown mode. The weather begins to change and there is less desire to exercise let alone eat as well. As September rolls to a close Halloween is right around the corner followed by Thanksgiving and then Christmas. That means that snack food and treats galore will be everywhere for the next three months.

Instead of following the normal plan of weight gain and resolution why not switch things up and go on the offensive?

The New Year’s Goal

Take a good look in the mirror. More than likely if you shaped up for summer, now preparing for the holidaysthings have slipped a bit. But, you probably still look decent. During the summer people usually use those long days for more activity and less eating. Mark down your weight on the scale. Now take 5 pounds off that number and that is your goal for the New Year.

I know what you are thinking, “Really, just 5 pounds?”

Yes. Because losing those 5 pounds and maintaining your weight will be a challenge enough considering the average caloric increase most people take on for the final 3 months of the year. So the goal should be to maintain where you are at now. This is not only better for you from a health perspective but also means less work in the coming year. Maintaining a body weight is always easier than losing excess weight because a more toned body naturally burns calories more efficiently.

The Daily Tips

Here is what you need to focus on each day to combat the holiday bulge:

  1. Drink plenty of water every day. Unsweetened tea is also a nice choice. Avoid the pitfall of getting lots of warmer drinks like coffee and cocoa just because the temperature outside is cooler.
  2. Be active every day. You don’t need to run a 10k but find activities that keep you moving. Specifically try and maintain your normal workout routine even if the gym is getting less crowded. Shorter days and colder weather make people slow down.
  3. Start working on holiday projects now. Yes it is really early but all that holiday madness takes up a lot of time and usually the first thing to go is gym time so start doing little bits now so you don’t have to miss out later.
  4. If you normally exercise outdoors start planning for indoor activities to keep the calories burning during the winter.
  5. Always focus on a great breakfast. Breakfast sets the tone for the day and getting all the right nutrients in a healthy breakfast will help keep your body on task for the day and cause less cravings.
  6. Stock up on gum. A great way to avoid snacking temptation is by chewing gum.
  7. For snacks avoid the sugar and embrace fruits and nuts. Some of it still isn’t that great but hey if you are going to eat something go with the lesser of two evils!
  8. Regularly read fitness articles to keep your motivation high.
  9. Remind yourself each day how much less work you will need to do later by doing some maintenance now.
  10. Play at night. If you have a Wii or Kinect video game system, then use it at night. Burn some last minute calories before you go to bed instead of just watching TV and eating.

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