Say NO to weight gain! - Staying on track throughout the holidays

Holidays, celebrations, family gatherings, and get togethers seem to be synonymous with an abundance of food, high calorie, tasty, tempting treats and alcohol.  There are several ways to approach the big event without suffering the consequences of guilt, regret, bloating, and serious disappointment in your lack of self-control! Some Tips:

HAVE A PLAN OF ACTION:
First and foremost, you must decide ahead of time what your plan will be; whether you will make efforts to be wise and make moderate, healthy choices or whether you plan to indulge in some of your favourite treats. We strongly advise that you set some boundaries and refrain from going no holds barred and having no restrictions. If you are going to choose to indulge, try this strategy to help balance and offset the additional calories. 

PLAN TO EXERCISE PRIOR TO THE BIG EVENT:
Try to train for at least an hour, if possible, or up the intensity of a shorter training session if you're short on time.  Aim to incorporate some of your training as cardio. Burn, burn, burn to earn! Want the ability to eat more without packing on the extra pounds? Then you need to balance it out (much like your bank balance) with greater energy expenditure to avoid the consequences of weight gain. Cut back on your eating throughout the day to allot for the unhealthy and greater caloric intake coming your way. 

HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE!
Eat a healthy breakfast and hydrate well (we're talking water and/or supplement with herbal teas) throughout your day leading up to your evening party and eat light; perhaps only vegetables.

If your plan is to indulge, opt to fast for the day (unless you're diabetic, or have any other serious medical condition) and save your eating for the party.  It's not something you would normally do, but because it's a few and far between practice, it's not a bad idea. This helps you to keep your calories in check and balance your overall calorie intake, especially if you already know ahead of time that you're going to indulge.  Drink water (flavoured with lemon, cucumber, etc.) or green and herbal tea throughout your day, and if you feel some serious hunger coming on, munch on vegetables. 

DO NOT WEAR ELASTIC WAISTBAND PANTS OR YOUR "FAT PANTS!" This practice just encourages an unhealthy amount of limitless eating and you will be unhappy with yourself after-the-fact.  Remind yourself that you will have the opportunity to eat those beloved treats or your favourite food again and instead, try to practice moderation. Telling yourself that it's the last time you will eat your unhealthy food of choice will only encourage you to eat more of it and it is not realistic. 

MAKE THE FOCUS MORE ABOUT THE COMPANY, THE SOCIALIZING AND THE PEOPLE, AND NOT THE FOOD.  Catch up with family, friends and enjoy the interaction with people, not food.

Allot for Alcoholic beverage calories (if you're choosing to drink) and don't consume them on an empty stomach.  Be sure to spread them out throughout your evening and/or be a super slow drinker and make the drink last as long as possible (this tactic will also help discourage others from pressuring you to drink more)! Pre-plan a ride home and of course, don't ever drink and drive!

If you really bombed with your eating at the party and feel bloated and unhappy with yourself the next morning, make some more adjustments the next day:

  • Perform cardio on an empty stomach within 30 minutes of waking.

  • Drink coffee (minus the sugar and cream) on an empty stomach to jumpstart your metabolism prior to your exercise. 

  • Exercise for at least an hour. Try to also take an evening walk to rev your metabolism when it is generally slowing down.

  • Hydrate and drink  and drink lots of water throughout your day to flush toxins and waste out of your system faster. Regular flat water and/or carbonated and you can choose to flavour it with slices of citrus fruit or cucumber, herbs, etc. to enhance flavour and add nutrients.

  • Natural herbal teas are another source of fluid can also help push things through your system faster. Fluids combined with the exercise will work synergistically to assist flushing toxins out faster.
     

If you hosted the festivities, have containers and doggie bags to give away the leftovers. Be sure to get the unhealthy treats out of sight or out of your house if you can't exercise discipline and moderation with tempting foods. Don't keep them in your home and risk breakdown.

Susan Arruda - Holiday Shopping at Kensington Market

Susan Arruda - Holiday Shopping at Kensington Market

These measures and tips, when put into practice, can help you avoid eating overload and maintain your healthy weight. Implement them to avoid the inches and the scale from the slow and steady climb. 

Planning is vital for success. However, take heart in knowing that one day of feasting will not undo all your overall healthy habits. The key to long-term success is consistency!  Stay positive and make efforts to move forward to correct the damage done and avoid self-bashing; it accomplishes nothing and can actually set you further back. Take action with the above points to correct the damage swiftly! You can't do anything about the past so strive to keep a sound, sane perspective and move forward in a positive and productive direction. Remind yourself that health and fitness is a lifelong journey so make it fun to be fit and make sure it also fits your lifestyle. 

Article written by Susan Arruda