Fight The Fat This Holiday Season

by Chris on November 19, 2011

Ah, yes it’s that time of year that many seem to have a love/hate relationship with. As a trainer I spent a lot of time in the gym and around this time of year I always seem to hear people saying things that sound a bit like this:

“I want/need to lose weight, but I’m waiting until after the holidays to start eating better and working out.”

Unfortunately, this is faulty logic at its best. Why are you waiting? Just because there are a handful of days around this time of year that almost force us to overeat doesn’t mean you can’t get started getting in shape right now. Now I could just tell you to hold back at Thanksgiving dinner with your family and only eat vegetables and salad but then what would be the fun in that? I say, enjoy the holidays and yes, eat that slice of pumpkin pie.

I’m sure some of you are tempted to close out the window right now based on that last statement alone, but stick with me here. What I’m saying is that a few days shouldn’t sabotage your health and fitness for the rest of the season. Don’t worry, I’m here to help with a few things you can do to fight the fat this year.

1. Don’t be afraid to enjoy the holiday!

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about counting calories at Thanksgiving dinner and the horrors that this math can equate to. Well I have a really simple solution to that: don’t count the calories. For many people, these holidays may be the only time of year you sit down with some of your relatives and catch up. They also may be the only time of year you even get to eat certain things. I only get to enjoy a certain sweet potato recipe at this time of year – and God help you if you try to get in the way of that.

2. Don’t let one day of overeating ruin you!

This is really a matter of willpower. Don’t use Thanksgiving or Christmas as an excuse to overeat or eat junk for the next three months. Everyone is allowed to indulge once in a while, and there is even some evidence that periodic overeating (or cheat days) can actually help you lose weight. But that’s for another article. Just know that one day of indulging in turkey and pumpkin pie sabotage your waistline for the entire season.

3. Don’t put off working out (or joining the gym) until January!

Oh, man. Every January my gym is inundated with the New Year’s Resolution Crowd and by mid-March they are all gone. In the past few weeks I have had tons of people tell me they were waiting to start getting their nutrition together or putting off starting a training program until after the holidays. This is a big mistake and one of the reasons people gain weight around this time of year. The overindulgence combined with inactivity is a recipe for disaster. Start training now so you don’t have worry about it later.

4. Drink plenty of water!

For those who are really concerned about not overeating on the holidays here is a very simple tip: drink lots of water. This does two things to help. First, it fills you up more so you don’t eat as much food. Second, drinking water will usually mean you’re eliminating some form of calorie containing beverage (like soda) from your diet. Both of these can be helpful when looking to lose fat.

5. Do something physical every day!

This tip is an easy way to burn calories without even trying. Doing something physical may mean you go to the gym to workout, but even on your off days you should be trying to do something active. One of the simplest things you can do, even on the holidays, is just go for a walk. This will burn calories, loosen you up after all that sitting at the dinner table and can help you recover from the workouts that you aren’t going to put off until January, right?

Just remember that there is no reason not to enjoy this time of year. Keep hold of your willpower, don’t put off hitting the gym until New Year’s and you’ll be one step closer to keeping those holiday pounds off.

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