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new-years-eve-1832124__480This year I resolve to…..

It’s almost the New Year and you’re gearing up for your resolutions to start.  Time to promise that from January 2nd on you will begin an exercise and diet program, you will only have one cheat meal and one rest day a week.  You’re going to sleep more, drink less alcohol and caffeine and begin a meditation routine.  Oh, the list goes on.  I’ve been there, we all have been there in one form or another.

But, why wait until the New Year?  It’s a month out!  My many years in this industry have taught me that on average more people than not fall out of their gym routine and into their Holiday routine and start coming up with numerous excuses as to why they can’t make it to the gym and that they feel it’s okay to overindulge in their favorite Holiday treats and not worry about exercise.  “I’ll lose it after the Holidays”!

bathroom-scale-1149264__340There is some good news to all of this.  It used to be believed that the average individual would gain between 5-10lbs during the Holidays.  This has been proven to not be true.  In fact, the average weight gain is about 1-2lbs.  “What’s 1 or 2lbs, that’s a piece of cake to lose”!  Here’s the catch…this 1lb is typically maintained throughout the year. So, that proverbial piece of cake begins to add up through the years and 1-2lbs turns into 5-10lbs and so on and so on and so on. And, depending on your body type, it may take a lot longer than you’d expect to lose.  This is the reason that at Balance 365 Fitness we have a Maintain, Don’t Gain Holiday Challenge. Of course, you’re going indulge in those tasty Holiday treats!  But, they don’t need to make a lasting effect on your body.  Continuing or beginning your fitness and nutrition routine now is more important than ever!  This is the time, Fall/Winter/Holiday, that food is rich, warm, comforting and high calorie, the weather is cooling down and the comfort of your couch next to the fire is most appealing!  Not to mention, the kids are on break, the party invitations are pouring in and you haven’t even started your Holiday shopping yet! This all equates to low “workout and diet motivation”.

Fitness and nutrition don’t have to wait until January  weightloss

So how can you incorporate good dietary choices and fitness into your ever busy, ever time-consumed Holiday day?  Here are some suggestions for you to consider to, at the very least maintain your current diet and fitness levels and certainly not gain weight or lose what you’ve worked on up to now.

  1. Make nutrition a family affair. Why does it just have to be you planning the family meals?  Get the entire family involved.  Have them choose a meal they would like to eat that week and then come up with ways to make it healthier (i.e. Mac and Cheese made with fat free milk, low fat cheese, or even butternut squash instead of the typical high fat ingredients).  Then, let them help prepare it.  If they are part of the process, they will take pride and enjoy their creation. mac-and-cheese-521447__480
  2. Encourage family members to get fit. Nutrition isn’t the only thing that can be a family affair.  Fitness can be as well!  Physical inactivity as a child leads to physical inactivity as an adult. Sedentary lifestyles lead to very serious health concerns such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
    • Make it point to plan at least two or three days to get the entire family involved. Take a 15-minute pre-dinner walk or jog.  If the weather is good, let the kiddos put their skates or roller blades and trek around the neighborhood.  Don’t let cold or darkness deter you, bundle up, wear reflective clothing and bring a flashlight.
    • Plan a family outing over the weekend that involves getting out of the car and walking or hiking or even touring a historic place. Make it game.  Place small bets on who can get to the top of the stairs first, or who can take the least number of steps to get from one point to the other.
    • Even cleaning or yard work is considered physical activity if it’s done with higher amounts of energy. Crank up the tunes and get out the dust rags and toilet brushes.  Set a stop watch and time the vacuuming or sweeping and mopping.
    • If you have children 13 years and older, most gyms will allow them memberships if they are with a guardian.
    • Check for kid’s physical activity classes such as Zumba Kids, Kids Yoga, Kids boot camps. Ask your current gym if they are able to incorporate a kid’s fitness class into their schedule. They can take the class why you hit the treadmill and the weights.
  3. Get your workout in at lunch or while the kids are at school. I’ve mentioned this before, “a 1 hour workout is only 4% of your day”!   Have your gym bag in your car and right after you drop the kids off at school go straight to the gym, even 20 minutes is going to count!!!  If you work all day, find a nearby gym and make it part of your lunch routine!  Eat your lunch during a break and spend your lunchtime working off stress and the added Holiday calories.
  4. Hook up with a workout buddy, personal trainer, or take a group fitness class for extra motivation. I posted a recent article that discusses success in numbers. Not to mention, the Holidays can be very stressful. Having a good social network helps to alleviate the unwanted stressors that naturally come forth during this time of year. It also, importantly, makes you accountable.  It’s easy to slack off if it’s just you, but when someone else is counting on you showing up, your chances of success are much higher.
  5. Eat a healthy meal before you go to a Holiday party. Load up on a healthy green salad with lean protein and a healthy fat like nuts, seeds, avocado, or olive oil!  Have a bowl of in-season fruit.  Doing this will lessen the temptation to eat your way through the party!

The bottom line is, it’s absolutely expected and acceptable that you will most likely enjoy the plethora of seasonal treats and spirits that are so frequently visible this time of year!  However, don’t just throw in the healthy lifestyle “towel” until the New Year!  This begins a pattern of quitting and excuses.  Only you can break that pattern.  I love Rita Chand’s quote, “There are 7 days a week, someday is not one of them”!  Make today your day and bring in the New Year feeling healthy and fit and certainly without regret!