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Holiday Eating

How to avoid needing a weight loss plan after the holidays

This holiday season, you can have a great time and still avoid having to lose weight in January due to over-eating. I know, it seems like we just automatically overdo it during the holidays, ensuring the need for a weight loss plan after the new year begins. But we don't have to.

I know what you're thinking: the holidays are a time for fun with family and friends, including indulging in great holiday meals. And of course you donít even want to think about fitness during that time. You simply want to enjoy yourself.

Well, before you accuse me of being the Grinch, please understand that I agree wholeheartedly! The festivities donít need to be eliminated or avoided. You can have a wonderful holiday season and maintain your weight and fitness regimen.

The secret to enjoying a holiday season that is full of fun and fitness is found in one simple word: moderation. There are two typical approaches to the festivities of the season:

  1. Throw all of our healthy habits out the window and indulge in every guilty pleasure that becomes available to us.
  2. The starve and binge routine, where we eat nothing all day long in order to allow ourselves to overindulge in party food that evening.

    Of course, neither of these approaches is very effective at helping us maintain a healthy, fit lifestyle throughout the holiday season.
As I mentioned above, the key to being able to enjoy your holiday meals and stay fit at the same time is moderation.

By using a moderate approach to what you eat and how much exercise you do, you can maintain your weight and also partake in all the fun of the season. So this year, get a head start on a successful new year instead of starting January needing a weight loss plan.

Here are a few tips to help you:

  • Create a sensible plan ahead of time. Before the holidays arrive, create a plan for incorporating good nutrition and a fitness regimen and into your daily routine. Evaluate your holiday time and then determine how much time you will realistically be able to devote to working out and eating healthy meals.
  • Donít simply shelve your fitness goals until the New Year. If you'll be unable to exercise as often as usual during this time period, adjust and do what you can.

    Donít fall back on the excuse that since you donít have time to do your full workout you just wonít workout at all. Instead, accept your limited availability and simply reduce the frequency and/or duration of your exercise routines. Itís a lot better to reduce your fitness time than to completely eliminate it during the holidays.
  • On the day of a party, make sure you eat regularly all day long. If the party is later that evening, eat a good breakfast, lunch, and a light snack beforehand.

    Once you're at the party, go ahead and indulge in some of the delicious festive foods. Since you have eaten regular meals throughout the day, you'll probably find that you arenít tempted to go overboard and eat everything you see.

    But if you starve all day long in an attempt to save up all your calories for the party, your belly will be empty by the time the party begins and it will be very hard not to overeat.
  • Schedule your workouts as best you can. Note them on your calendar and allot time to complete them. Consider your workouts as important as any other appointment or event you have planned for that day.
  • When at a party, begin by eating some of the healthier offerings, such as vegetable sticks (without dip), fruit chunks, plain chicken morsels, etc. Then move on to some of the less healthy (but more enjoyable) offerings.

    You'll be more likely to control your appetite if you have already filled-up on some of the healthier items. And yet you won't feel unsatisfied or deprived.
  • On days that you lack motivation (and you'll have a couple) or simply don't have time for your complete exercise routine, commit to complete just 10 minutes of exercise.

    Youíll most likely end up doing more than that once you get started, but even if you only end up working out for 10 minutes, that's still a lot better than not working out at all!
  • When presented with a wide variety of food options, itís normal to want to eat some of everything. So instead of eating one large slice of cake or a huge plate of meatballs, take bite size samples of several of the desert or appetizer offerings. This way you can enjoy trying many different foods without overeating.
  • Exercise while you're at home. Youíll be more inclined to complete your exercise commitment if you donít have to drive someplace else to workout. Plus, you wonít have to waste any time on driving, parking, or waiting to use the equipment.

    Working out at home requires very little equipment (or none at all) and it is quite inexpensive.
  • Avoid wasting calories on bloating alcoholic beverages. The average alcoholic drink contains 150-200 calories per glass. If you indulge in just 2-3 drinks, youíve consumed enough calories for an entire meal!

    If you do choose to partake in these beverages, choose wisely. For example, instead of having a full glass of wine, try mixing half a glass with sparkling water or a diet cola. This will cut your calories in half.
  • When shopping or running errands, be sure to take along some healthy snacks. Then, after you work-up a huge appetite, you wonít be tempted to grab something fattening at the mall food court or a fast food joint on the way home.

I hope these tips will help you find a balance between staying fit and also enjoying the fun of the season. Just remember, moderation is the key to happiness and healthiness, especially during the holidays. Enjoy yourself and have a great holiday season!

Lynn Bode is the owner of www.workoutsforyou.com, an online Personal Fitness Training company.

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