Shopping, pageants, parties, family gatherings, and food, food, food. The holiday season is filled with good things, making it the holly-est, jolly-est time of year. And it's easy to get caught up in the tinsel, lights, eggnog, and chocolate and forget about barbells and running shoes. This is why people gain an average of one pound (overweight folks gain even more) during the winter holiday months. You may not think a pound is that big of a deal but pack them on year after year and they add up.
While a pound is the average, who wants to be average? Beat the statistics and avoid holiday weight gain by fitting in exercise this year. Here’s how.
A New Tradition
Along with stockings, trees, and carols, why not create new family traditions that include exercise? After your big family meals, plan to take a walk, go on a hike, or ride bikes together to burn off the extra calories. Spending time outdoors beats sitting around on the couch and you won't regret it.
Shed the Stress
In case you’ve not heard, stress can be a major contributing factor to overeating. For many, the holidays can bring on all sorts of stress. The good news is that you don’t have to hang onto that stress and use it as an excuse to overeat. When going into a situation that you anticipate will be stressful, gear up beforehand with a run or quick trip to the gym. The good vibes coursing through your veins afterward should help ward off negative stress and help you make better dinnertime decisions.
Lose Your Tunnel Vision
Ideally, you will be able to get in for a workout four to five times each week. However, the holidays often make this impossible. Not only are you on the road part of the time, you also have parties to prepare for and presents to wrap. Don’t let this cause you to fall into complacency. Wherever you are, you’re able to exercise. Remember: jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, chin-ups, and running requires no special equipment. Just effort.
In today’s world, many people prefer to sit in their pajamas and do all their holiday shopping online. Don’t be one of them. Appealing as it may be to shop online, you can burn off a few more calories if you’re willing to shop at stores. Sure, there will be loonies out who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the last toy or sweater available, but shopping at actual stores forces you to walk and get rid of calories while you’re doing one of your favorite things.
Across the world, the holidays are pictured as times of fun and relaxation. While they should be both, that doesn’t mean you should sit around doing nothing. No matter where you’re spending your holidays, someone still has to work to make sure everything goes off as planned. Have family coming over? Better grab a shovel and clear the snow off the sidewalk and driveway. Your mom cooking up her famous recipes in the kitchen? Get in there and help by cleaning the dishes! It’ll give you a chance to burn a handful of calories, while spending quality time with your loved ones. After all, that’s what makes these days so holly jolly.
There’s nothing like a bowl of homemade soup for instant comfort. Use this Easy Lentil Soup recipe for a light dinner or quick lunch. It’s easy to make, tastes delicious and is low in fat. What’s more it’s full of natural protein. And guess what? Lentils are packed with cholesterol-lowering fiber.
What You Need
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped carrot
½ cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons salt
1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
2 quarts chicken broth, fat free, reduced sodium
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground toasted cumin
Optional, spoonful of fat free cottage cheese
Optional, dried parsley
1. Put the olive oil in a 6-quart Dutch oven and place over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery and salt. Saute for 6 to 7 minutes.
2. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander and cumin; stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, about 40 minutes.
3. Using a stick blender, puree the soup to your desired consistency. Serve with cottage cheese and sprinkle with dried parsley if desired.
One serving equals: 240 calories, 2g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 18g fiber, and 16g protein.
I hope that you get a chance to give this recipe a try this week. Remember that I’m only a call or email away to assist you in all things fitness. And if you are not yet one of my prized clients then call or email me now to set up your first workout – I’d love to help you achieve your best body ever!
Owner and Lead Personal Trainer at Perfect Fit Wellness Center.