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Holidays Wreak Havoc!

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Whether or not evidence-based research supports the saying…some have quoted an average weight gain of 8-12 pounds over the holidays for Americans.  I suggest this weight gain is more like 2-5 pounds (accompanied by a ‘pudgy’ feeling)…still a devastating set-back to most weight loss plans.  Let’s look at some startling facts and a few ways to decrease the strain on your goals this joyous season.

One tablespoon of butter = 102 calories, one slice of ham = 91 calories, one heaping spoon of mashed potatoes = 128 calories.  Measure these delicacies against your basal metabolic rate (daily calorie need) and you have already eaten approximately 20-25% of your daily need in one sitting! Is it clear how easily you may underestimate your holiday treats and lose sight of your goals?

Problem is,  our treats are compounded by stress, busy schedules, and excuses.   “I would exercise, but…” Do you know what the word “but” stands for? -a weakness in your plan.

Here are the most common excuses I hear as a trainer and nurse – and how to bust through them.

“I don’t have time.”
This is the most common excuse I hear all year long.  Time will not fall into your lap…you have to MAKE time!  Some feel that morning exercise is best for a myriad of reasons (induced fat burn all day, decreased hunger during the day, etc) which may include getting it out of the way.  Others use group style classes for accountability and enjoyment.  Find a time when a class is held that you may enjoy.  Now, make the commitment to get into that hour-class 2-3 times each week.   One hour, 3 xs each week is literally 2% of your waking hours!  This is a reasonable goal during a busy time of year.

“I don’t want to miss out on special or traditional treats.”
‘Tis the season of splurges. Trouble is, when we splurge at every meal, we aren’t really splurging. We are just losing all control!

Give yourself safe limits.  Don’t restrict completely, but be aware of making the excuse about your diet — the excuse to go crazy.  Stay in control.  If you plan to eat several treats in one sitting, the rest of your day needs to be reasonable.  And…above all else, do not ‘save’ calories for one meal all day or all weekend! Your body will definitely hold onto each devastating calorie — keep yourself ‘fueled’ by snacking and monitoring your other meals.

Try tracking your diet during this time of year! http://www.myfitnesspal.com is an ABSOLUTELY FREE tracking tool that is a great help to assess your eating style this holiday.

“I’ll start in January.”
Postponing exercise just means you’ll have more fat to work off when you actually do hit the gym.  And you know what? You won’t start in January!  

Make your weight-loss efforts easier by getting out of your all-or-nothing mindset.  Commit to being aware of your eating habits this holiday, and plan your schedule each week to include 2-3 sessions of sweaty exercise.  Stay in control and you’ll be sure to have a healthier start to your 2013! 

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