The dreaded holidays are upon us, the time of year when bank accounts dwindle and waistlines increase. But it does not have to be that way, for your waistline anyway. A few simple lifestyle modifications can help keep that weight gain at bay. Get a positive start to the new year so you can focus on more important resolutions other than losing weight.
Start a new tradition
Get up early on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or whatever holiday you enjoy and do an early morning workout with your loved ones before the cooking festivities begin. Burn those calories before you eat them! Gather everyone in the living room, backyard, or a local park and do a half hour to an hour of walking, jogging, jumping jacks, squats, push-ups or whatever activity you all enjoy. Not only will exercise improve mood before a long and stressful day of cooking, but it may motivate people to choose smaller servings.
Be the motivator
You may have family or friends that do not want to go for a walk or get active. So motivate them. Describe your reasons for not wanting to gain weight. If that doesn’t work, describe to them the benefits of light exercise, such as disease prevention and lowing cholesterol and blood pressure. Explain that exercising with family is such a great bonding experience. Take walks with your loved ones. Go look at holiday decorations, go window shopping, or just to get out of the house. Anything where you can get moving and burn some extra calories will help keep the holiday bulge off. You will be doing your family a favor too!
Cook smart with food substitutions
Nothing like home cooking for the holiday’s right? Well, food can taste just as good and be much healthier just by substituting ingredients. Average holiday meals are over 4000 calories! When possible, cut butter and salt servings in half. In baking, butter can often be replaced with applesauce for a much healthier option. Choose olive oil instead of butter for greasing pans or cooking spray. Choose whole wheat foods instead of white. Use whole cranberries instead of the jelly sauce. Small choices lead to big results.
Remember, there are only a few holidays in the months of November and December!
When worse comes to worse and you cannot increase your workouts or make holiday dinners healthier than you can always remember that there are 30 days in the month of November, and Thanksgiving is only one. You can eat healthy 29 days in the month and still enjoy one day of over-indulgence. As long as you stay on track the other days in the month, one day will not make a difference. Same thing applies in December, so make sure to stay on track.
Why wait till New Year?
Quit putting your health off! Start now, not January! Everyone knows New Year’s resolutions do not last, so make it a lifestyle choice, starting today!