The Race is On!
In order to be successful in avoiding the “Holiday Bulge”, I suggest treating these weeks before the holidays as training for a race or sporting event. For those of you who have not trained for a race or event, this technique is fairly simple. You MUST be consistent! Your “training” should include both physical activity AND healthy eating. The ultimate goal is to be in the best shape possible before gorging on holiday foods and spirits.
By doing as such, it makes the holiday feasts more enjoyable and less stressful. No longer will you have to fear “the look” from Aunt Martha when you turn down her famous rich-with-fat holiday recipe. Nor will you be stressed with the realization of how many calories you have eaten in one sitting. For some, the recommended healthy recipes for holiday meals is just the ticket to keeping off the pounds. However for me, I am a HUGE fan of dark meat, stuffing with lots of butter and turkey drippings, mashed potatoes with insane amounts of manchego cheese, and the always enjoyable rhubarb pie. So I say,
“Work your butt off in order to reward yourself indulgently!”
Step 1: Set Frequency Goals >6x/week
The more consistent you are, the better your results will be. Aim for at least 20 min of vigorous exercise 6 days a week. Keep track of workouts with fun stickers on your calender.
Step 2: Eat Lower Calorie Meals More Frequently
Having 5 meals at 300-350 calories keeps hunger binges at bay. I also suggest eating PERFECTLY for six days and having a FREE day to satisfy cravings and learn the contrast of how your body feels with poor vs. healthy eating.
Step 3: Weight Train at Least 2x/week
It’s a FACT- the more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns. Weight training with moderately heavy weights (3 sets of 8-10) will help build up the ultra valuable muscle mass.
Step 4: Eliminate Alcohol
This is the easiest way to loose weight, but the hardest for most to eliminate. Alcohol calories are the WORST for your body. They are the first to go to fat and the last your body goes to for energy. Snacking is also a partner to alcohol which makes it a double whammy.
I realize that for some (me included), giving up the occasional or more glass of wine or cocktail is more of a psychological hurdle than physical. Keep your eye on the prize and realize that you can go back to 2-3 drinks per week once you are in your goal condition. Have a drink on your free day to avoid binging.
To sum it all up, follow these steps to get a jump on the holiday craziness. The regular workouts will keep stress at bay, and the alterations in your diet will give you the results you desire. Come January, you won’t feel the obligation to kick a resolution into gear, you’ll just need to KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!