Managing your weight and sticking to an exercise program can easily slip down your priority wish list during the holiday season.
Purchasing gifts, trimming the tree, sampling sweets and finding the perfect fuzzy sweater often trumps the treadmill and calorie counting.
By taking control of your holiday eating and fitting in a little extra movement when you can, you are more likely to keep those extra pounds away.
Try these 10 strategies below to keep holiday weight gain at bay this season.
1) Get moving!
Food isn’t always the enemy; lack of activity is. Remember that it’s about calories in vs. calories out.
Hop on the treadmill during your favorite holiday TV shows! Park farther away at the mall and take the stairs with your packages.
Better yet, get your workout done in the morning instead of being derailed by evening holiday hoopla.
2) Stick To A Five-A-Day Plan
Really stick to consuming your five fruits and vegetables each day.
Keeping nourished with healthy food helps you avoid those excess sugar highs and energy lows that can make you tired and depressed.
Related: Your Healthy Holiday Game Plan
3) Be Wary Of Liquid Calories
Holidays are notorious for tempting us with drinks we wouldn’t normally consume. Alcohol offers no nutrients, just empty calories!
Eggnog coffee drinks with whip cream, hot toddies, and spiced rum can have as many calories as a personal pan pizza!
Opt instead for sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice of your choice.
4) Allow For Indulgences
Limit yourself to one indulgence per day. Don’t deprive yourself for three days of all sugar so you can pig out at the company holiday party.
Be moderate in your thought process: 1 cookie, 1 candy, 1 eggnog, etc.
5) Control Your Temptation Triggers
Avoid constantly putting yourself in tempting situations.
For example, walking through the breakroom at work 10 times a day when you know it’s filled with treats and candies isn’t going to end well!
Don’t place treats on your kitchen counter to stare you in the face. Know yourself and your weaknesses so you can easily avoid them.
6) Never Go To A Party Hungry
One of the worst things you can do is starve yourself before a holiday party.
The hungrier you are, the less capable you are of staying in control.
And avoid the “grazing” mentality at those parties. Take a plate and fill it only once with appetizers.
Grazing can result in a major caloric disaster.
7) Exercise In Bursts
Increase your time management skills over the holiday season. Your normal routine is often sabotaged during this time of year.
Workouts don’t need to be long to be effective.
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you integrate bursts of intense activity with lighter activity, it’s easier to burn calories, improve aerobic capacity and banish boredom.
You can get an amazing cardio workout in just 20 minutes.
8) Escape The Couch
Step away from the living room, and invite family and friends to get active.
Choose gifts that encourage venturing outdoors, such as sleds or snowshoes. Get out and power walk to check out the neighborhood holiday lights.
If you have a video gaming system like the Wii-Fit or the Kinect for the Xbox, get a family competition going with a game of bowling or tennis.
9) Just Say No
Many times we eat foods just to please the hostess or cook.
Politely say “No thank you. Everything looks delicious, but I think I’ve reached my limit!”
10) Focus On The People, Not The Food
Go to a party to socialize, not only eat. Use your energy making conversation rather than focusing on food. Conversation is calorie free!
Enjoy your holidays, but remember you’ll feel better entering the New Year without those extra 10 pounds!