Encouraging Health and Happiness

How to Avoid the Seasonal Seven

ribeye_dinnerThe average American gains 7 pounds during the holidays!

The “seasonal seven” is a term used for the average weight Americans gain between Thanksgiving and New Years. Since the holidays are traditionally a time for fun and indulgence, you probably prefer not to think about fitness between Thanksgiving and New Years. You want to enjoy yourself, right? Don’t worry! The festivities don’t have to be eliminated or avoided. You can have an enjoyable time while also maintaining your weight and fitness regimen. Here are some simple tips to help avoid becoming part of the “seasonal seven” statistic.

The Secret

The secret to staying on track is planning ahead.  This will keep you moving towards achieving your fitness goals and help you avoid the tendency to overeat.

Planning ahead solves many of the common mistakes and dilemmas that most people face. Some common issues are: arriving to a holiday party hungry, not scheduling your workouts ahead of time, eating your “treat food” first at a party, eating fast food while out shopping, deciding to skip workouts, and just eating whatever you feel like because the holidays only happen once a year. These can all be avoided with some simple planning strategies.

The Top 5:  Tips for helping you be successful this season

1. Eat before the big party.

Stick with your regular eating habits. Eat a quality breakfast and have a protein rich snack within an hour of the party. When you arrive at the party you’ll be less inclined to indulge, and you’ll make better decisions about food and alcohol intake.

While at the party, eat half of a plate full of healthier food first (chicken, vegetables, or natural fruit), then go back for your favorites on the second half of your plate.

2. Schedule your workouts or fitness activities in advance. (Bonus: Invite friends!)

The easiest thing to sacrifice when you’re stressed for time is your workout. This is one of the worst things you can do, because exercise actually helps you reduce stress, in addition to the fact that you’ll look great in your holiday party attire.

Be creative with your workouts and squeeze it in when you can. Invite a friend to the gym or go on a walk prior to going holiday shopping. Make the activity or workout part of the holiday festivities. Take a group exercise or yoga class, or check out one of the many holiday 5k races or other fun runs that benefit charities. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for someone else. The spirit of giving can not only keep you fit this holiday season, but it can provide things for people and charities in need.

3. Pack snacks to avoid the mall food courts.

Chances are, you’ll be going on a marathon shopping extravaganza at least once this holiday season. Meal prep is commonly a part of a healthy lifestyle, and the holiday season should be no exception. Not only will packing snacks in your bag save you money, but it’ll save you time in the long run because you won’t be waiting in those horrendous lines at the food court.

Knowing what’s going into your body is one of the most powerful aspects of maintaining your health. If you wouldn’t indulge in it the other 10 months of the year, you probably shouldn’t be eating it now. Snacks will also hold you over long enough to skip the drive thru on the way home.

4. Don’t drink your calories.

The holidays are often filled with alcohol and other delicious beverages. While these seem like a small treat, some of them can contain as many calories as a full meal. The average alcoholic beverage contains almost 200 calories. Have 2 or 3 and suddenly you’re looking at a full meal’s worth of calories. Alcohol also slows your metabolism, so everything you eat will take longer to burn off.

Moderation is the key here. Having one special drink at a party will help you stay feeling festive without all the guilt. It will also help you avoid an awkward conversation with your Uncle Ben about politics. Try some non-alcoholic beverages at your next holiday party, and aim for the ones that aren’t full of sugar.

5. Don’t wait until New Year’s to make that resolution to get fit.

Wouldn’t you love to fit into your favorite skinny jeans or look good in that dress shirt by New Year’s? If you commit to getting in shape now, you’ll start seeing results by the time everyone else is finally starting to get on track. Not only will you be light years ahead of your friends, but you’ll also find that you don’t have as hard of a time picking up those heavy shopping bags or putting away the decorations when cleanup time rolls around.

Start small and commit yourself to 10 minutes of movement, 5 days a week. You’ll build a habit for working out in no time, and chances are you’ll get in the zone and end up doing far more than 10 minutes of working out. Even if you don’t, 10 minutes is far better than 0 minutes. Some days you won’t feel motivated, but you’ll be very happy when you hit the ground running in January.

I hope these simple tips help you stay out of the “seasonal seven” category. If you need basic workouts for the gym floor or even body weight movements you can do at home to help you through this season please let me know.

We at Arena Sports, wish you a healthy and safe holiday season. We thank you for your membership and enabling us to share in your success.

Stay Healthy and Active,

Scott A. Jansen

Magnuson Athletic Club/ Fitness Manager

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