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4 Holiday Tips To Beat The Bulge

Dec 29, 2007
The Holidays are coming.

If you are like most people then the Holidays bring about a sense of wonder, an atmosphere of good will and....a huge plate of food followed by tons of Christmas cookies!

More than 50 percent of adults gain weight during this magical time of year but you don't have to be one of them! In this issue I am going to bring you four tips that will help keep the pounds from finding their way to your waist.

It's said that the average person gains between 2 and 6 pounds between now and January 1st. For some this can mean struggling for months just to get back to their pre-Holiday weight.

Our goal for you is to not put the pounds on in the first place. Sounds good, right?

Before we dive into the tips let's take a moment to set you up for success.

This may seem silly or trivial, but bear with me as this will likely be the catalyst for your success.

Close your eyes and picture yourself standing in front of your bathroom scale. The calendar on the wall says January 2nd 2007. The Holidays are over and you are now forced to reckon with reality. You step onto the scale and peer down at the reading. What does it say? Did the numbers go down? Did they stay the same? Are you up 5 pounds?

Scary thought, isn't it? The ominous first week of January beckons decorations to come down and the New Year's resolution of losing weight to be made out of desperation. But I have some powerful news for you.

You have a choice to make.

Right now you can decide what your scale will say on January 2nd 2007. Close your eyes again and picture yourself stepping onto that scale. Now decide what you want that number to be. Got a picture of it in your mind's eye? Good. This is your goal. Now read on for the tips that will see you through your goal.

Holiday Tip #1: Maximize the Burn

We all know that the month of December is a busy one. There are parties and dinners; shopping and decorating. You have cooking and cleaning to do before your guests arrive and gift wrapping to do after the kids are in bed. So where do your workouts fit in? You probably have a regular schedule for your workouts (if you don't then schedule your first appointment with me ASAP) and this schedule will likely be modified for the Holidays. And less exercise means more weight gain, especially when it is coupled with an increase in food consumption.

Does this mean you have to stick to your guns and never miss a workout? While that would be ideal, it just isn't practical. Instead of rearranging your Holiday schedule to revolve around your workouts focus on maximizing each workout that you do get in.

In other words, kick up your intensity when you do find the time to exercise.

A great way to do this is to do complex movements, such as a squat and press rather than a simple squat. Another way to burn more calories is to utilize your core throughout your workout. This can be done by challenging yourself with an unstable surface-use a stability ball for your crunches and try standing on one leg while performing bicep curls.

Holiday Tip #2: Don't Go Hungry

"I'm saving my appetite for the party tonight...." Have you ever uttered those words? The thought is tempting, right? You know that a Holiday party or dinner means an abundance of great food, and what better condition to arrive in than famished? The hungrier you are the more good food you will have room for.

This plan has two major problems.

First, when you go for hours without food your metabolism crashes. This means that when you do get around to eating-like when you arrive at the buffet-your body will be eager to store all the yummy calories as fat. Not good.

The second problem is the most obvious. The more food you eat at that Holiday party the more likely your scale will display a ridiculously high number on January 2nd. Again, not good.

Instead of saving your appetite for a big meal, maintain a healthy metabolism by eating small meals every few hours. Always eat a well balanced breakfast and never arrive at a party with a growling stomach.

Holiday Tip #3: Be Inefficient

I know, I know. You are constantly bombarded by information on how to be more efficient and here I go telling you to be inefficient. But hear me out.

Be inefficient in how you expend energy.

In other words, expend as much energy as you can on an activity even if this means doing things in a more challenging way. After all, the more energy you expend the more calories you burn.

Here are some ideas: Instead of rallying for the closest parking spot at the mall choose the farthest spot you can find. The extra walking burns calories. Always opt for the stairs instead of an elevator. If you have the option of sitting or standing, work your legs and stand. Have to sit at work? Try sitting on a stability ball-you will burn calories and work your core without having to think about it.

Be on the lookout for more fun ways to expend energy this Holiday season. Remember that the number on your scale will be the result of each individual calorie that you consume versus each individual calorie that you expend.

Holiday Tip #4: Watch Out for the Eggnog

Who doesn't love eggnog? It is sweet, spiced and oh so creamy-yum. However, did you know that 8oz of eggnog with rum contains 450 calories?

Numbers like that add up quickly-indulge in just 8 glasses and the number on your scale will creep up a digit.

Don't be fooled. Eggnog is not the only high-calorie beverage that threatens your waistline. Champagne, wine, hot cocoa, spiced cider and spirits are all filled with one deadly thing:

Empty calories.

Stay away from beverages that are high in empty calories. Instead drink as much water as you can and stick to limiting your high-calorie drinks.
About the Author
Nick Irons is an author, personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, and nationally recognized ultra-endurance athlete. You can find more articles like this at his website http://www.MarylandPersonalTrainer.com.
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