If you have lost weight, are in the process of losing, or want to start, the holidays can be your number one nemesis. Decadent holiday meals, stress, no time for workouts, sleep deprivation, and well meaning relatives can be a challenge to handle for even the most committed healthy eaters and exercisers. Most people gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds during the holidays but you don’t have to be one of them. By following these simple guidelines you can maintain your weight and begin the new year ready to continue on your weightloss journey.
Adopt A Maintenance Program
Cutting back to a maintenance program can help take the pressure off and you will still be doing enough exercise to avoid weight gain. If you workout 4-5 times a week shoot for 3 workouts instead. If you workout 3 times a week shoot for 1 longer sessions and one shorter session. If going to the gym is a hassle buy a couple of videos that you can do at home and commit to doing them for the next 6 weeks. This will save you a lot of driving time. If you lift weights and are on a 3 or 4 day split a circuit training workout can burn just as many calories and help you maintain those fat burning muscles you’ve worked so hard to build. You can also re-work your split so that you are working more body parts in one session and incorporate advanced bodybuilding strategies like compound sets, tri-sets, and supersets which can cut your workout time in half.
Try Balanced Eating
You don’t have to avoid all the holiday goodies as long as you indulge in moderation and you practice balanced eating. This means making up for your indulgences with lots of healthy eating. If you reach for that slice of cake at work or you overindulge in food and alcohol at a party then don’t dwell on it and think of how many times you can eat healthy until the next party or gathering. Keep fruit, lowfat trail mix, and fresh veggies with you at work, home, or when you’re driving around so you always have a healthy option. If you feel that you might get out of control at a gathering drink a low carb, high fiber, protein shake before you go. This will help you feel full and satiated and you won’t be tempted to eat as much. Plan your cheats for those special occasions so that you can enjoy yourself and then get back on track like you normally do.
De-stress and Rest
Easier said than done but this is crucial if you want to avoid storing calories as fat. Stress increases levels of the hormone cortisol which stimulates deep abdominal fat cells to accept and store fat. In addition sleep deprivation also alters hormone levels and your capacity to metabolize carbohydrates. Try a yoga tape which can count as one of your workouts, use aromatherapy or relaxing music to calm your nerves, exchange massages with a co-worker, friend, or spouse, spend time with someone by going for a short leisurely walk. Just 10 minutes of any of these activities can really make a difference.
Focusing on these simple strategies can help take the pressure off so that you can enjoy the holidays. Your chances of maintaining your current weight will be much higher and you will have a more positive outlook when it’s time to re-commit to your new years resolution.