Surviving the Holidays – Part One

19 11 2013
Nicole Martin, LPC

Nicole Martin, LPC

Okay folks, there is no denying that the holiday season is in full swing.  Whether you are ready or not, Christmas commercials are filling the television screen and carols can be heard throughout the mall.  I even had a friend tell me she put up her tree already!! Gosh, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet.

Not only is there pressure from all sides to buy expensive gifts and get photos of your kids and grandkids with Santa, but the pressure to snack on cookies and pies and gorge on turkeys and potatoes is not going away soon enough.

First off, I want to address the myth that the average person gains 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and the New Year.  That is not true.  What IS true though, is that the average person’s weight gain is just over one pound (from a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the Medical University of South Carolina).  That may sound like good news, but unfortunately, they also found that the extra weight is stubborn and difficult to burn off.  Gaining one extra pound each year can add up significantly, especially if it ends up sticking around forever, as the study suggests.

Why do I bring up this depressing news?  Well…I have been talking with many participants in this Weight Management Program and strategizing for the holidays.  You guys and gals have been working your butts off (literally!) and deserve to treat yourself with respect over the holidays and keep the momentum going.  In order to do that, we all have to be mindful and think through what the holidays might bring for us in the way of temptations, stress, and pressure.  Therefore, over the next few weeks, I will be posting a few tips developed from a handful of articles passed on from our in-house dietitian, Cathy Shaw.  Feel free to read through the articles, too, so you can be best prepared to maintain your health and fitness over this holiday season.  I will link a couple at the end of each blog.

Tips to Stay in the Game:

  1.        Keep your eye on the prize….you have been working so hard to get where you are today, no need to blow it on a lousy turkey and his pumpkin and potato filled friends!  Mindful snacking is one way to weigh less without the stress.  Mindless snacking will prevent the weight loss you have been working so hard to accomplish.
  2.        Choose to lose.  Many people feel that if they don’t partake in the holiday feasting traditions (be it drinking or eating mindlessly), others will find them rude or ungrateful.  Hey! It’s your life and your health!! You have the right to eat or drink what you want, where you want and in the amount you want! You are on a healthy roll, don’t let someone else take that from you.  Choose the best bets at the buffet: “white turkey, plain veggies, roasted sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, defatted gravy, and pumpkin pie tend to provide the best bets because they are lower in fat and calories.”
  3.        Stay ACTIVE! Nothing helps you reach (and maintain) a healthy weight like physical activity.  If you’re like most, holidays seem busier than ever, leaving you with less time for yourself.  If you don’t have time to get to the gym, stay fit by walking. Make fitness a family adventure!  Take a walk early in the day and then again after dinner.  It’s a wonderful way to enjoy each other, stay away from the tables full of food and give your mind and body a rest.

Feel the Burn!

You can easily add a little more activity into your holiday by doing just ten minutes of one of these activities:

  • Walking at a brisk pace = 54 calories
  • Heavy cleaning = 54 calories
  • Step-ups (using stairs) = 175 calories
  • Raking leaves = 40 calories

Build lean muscles and boost your metabolism even if you can’t make it to the gym by adding 10-15 reps of each of the following:

  • Squats – while you are brushing your teeth
  • Lunges – on each leg while you tie your shoes
  • Wall push-ups – before you walk out the door
  •  Curls – with a can of pumpkin or bottle of detergent
  • Plank hold – while reheating food or waiting for water to boil. Hold for 30 seconds and work up to 3 minutes.

I hope these tips are found helpful and useful throughout the coming months.  You have been working hard to make changes and become a healthier and more active you.  Honor your progress!! Be thankful for the gifts you have been given and the ability to make decisions for yourself.  Remember: The focus of the season is not just about the delicious bounty of food, but it’s time to celebrate relationships with your family and friends!!  Happy Holidays everyone!!




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