Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

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by Michelle Sutton-Kerchner

Festivities and obligations often leave less time for exercise and more opportunities to eat. Follow these tips to keep away excess weight …

Get Your Rest

Sleep away false hunger.
Sleep away false hunger.

Studies prove lack of quality sleep has its effect on your waistline. Fatigue interferes with the body’s hunger-regulating hormones, which can trigger false feelings of hunger. When tired and hungry, we tend to reach for high-carb, high-calorie comfort snacks. Feeling sleepy also provides an excuse to laze around, skipping your workout and physical activity for a stint on the couch.

Sleeping less is not a time-saver. Reducing Zzzs may seem a good short-term solution to fitting more into your day. However, chronic sleep issues (such as shortened sleep-time) are associated with long-term health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes. Colds, flu, and infections are also more frequent in the sleep deprived. Although it may seem like a time-crunch solution, cutting out sleep can cost you time in the long-term. It also decreases the quality of your waking hours.

Don’t Go Hungry

When life gets hectic, we often neglect healthy eating habits. We grab dinner while shopping, order pizza after a tiring day, or hit the vending machine for a shrinkwrapped pastry. And, who really is inspired to cook up a meal when it’s dark at dinnertime!

Find comfort and convenience in healthy soups.
Find comfort and convenience in healthy soups.

Thankfully, winter coincides with soup season. Make large batches. Use leftovers from weekend meals, when you have more time and energy to cook. Freeze them for home-cooked meals throughout the holiday rush.

Pack healthful snacks that are high in fiber and protein. Keep them within reach as you go through the day. This will avoid drops in blood sugar levels from hunger. You’ll be ready for a few extra errands when you otherwise would have to succumb to fast food and unhealthy alternatives.

Keep It Reasonable

Indulging in holiday foods, and perhaps missing workouts as you rush through the season, can fill the time you do exercise with a need to overdo it. Remember, fitness is a long-term commitment. It cannot be rushed. Most importantly, it is a commitment that should not be broken because of short-term distractions.

Ask a trainer for safe but efficient exercises to keep on track during busy times.
Ask a trainer for efficient but safe exercises.

An excessive exercise session cannot compensate for missed workouts or an evening of rich foods. In fact, it can lead to exhaustion and injury, which can result in more missed workouts. Ask a personal trainer how to successfully manage the fitness-time and eating challenges faced during the holidays. Work on maintaining balance and recognizing your limits, both at the dinner table and on the Fitness Floor.

Reducing a Different Kind of Weight

Nurture a lighter spirit.
Nurture a lighter spirit.

Weight comes in different forms. Perhaps emotional weight is your struggle this season. Holidays are not always jolly days, especially for those separated from loved ones, suffering from illness, or struggling with financial issues. Don’t add to stress by comparing your life to a Currier & Ives scene.

Make the holidays your own in a way that nurtures your soul. This year, your best gift may be acceptance. Try to make peace with your situation, whatever it may be. Treat yourself kindly. Breathe deeply and feel the weight lift from your being – and possibly your waist.




Image Credits

Sleep: flickr.com/photos/planetchopstick/497736998

Vegetable soup: pixabay.com/en/soup-vegetables-vegetarian-cooking-1335168

Peace within: pixabay.com/en/women-s-nature-landscape-autumn-1797870

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