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How to Avoid the Holiday 7

Brian Calkins - NSCA-CPT, ACE | Cincinnati, Ohio

With Halloween upon us we have officially launched into the annual 2 month festive eating and drinking season. During this period each year Americans can gain an average of 7 pounds due to social obligations, extra stress, less sleep and an abundance of food all around.

Many people, however, gracefully cruise right through this festive time of the year without adding so much as an ounce! That’s the good news! The bad news, however, is a recent study found that even in those who only gain a pound or two each year never lose their accumulated holiday pounds. For this latter group, a decade of small holiday weight gain can lead to an excess of 20 added pounds!

So how do you become one of those who maintain your weight during this festive time of the year? The solution to the Holiday 7 isn’t some new miracle weight loss drug or the latest fad diet, but rather a consistent, balanced nutrition plan and a commitment to exercising regularly.

In fact, when you recognize that making wise food choices most of the time, combined with a consistent exercise routine, IS the solution to our weight control woes, you too will make it through the holiday season without adding to your waistline. And you may even be able to lose a few pounds between today and January 1st!

See, when you add lean, toned muscle tissue to your body you elevate your metabolism. When you add to that better food choices (leaner proteins: seafood, chicken, turkey; quality complex carbs: brown rice, sweet potatoes, whole grains; fibrous carbs: whole fruits and vegetables) you further enhance your body’s ability to burn more calories. And just a little planning will allow you to eat like a King while enjoying your favorite traditions.

Right now, get out your PDA or calendar and make a note of all your festive gatherings for the season, include family gatherings, social and business functions. Realize that this may account for 10 or 12 meals during the next 2 months. Have fun, indulge in our cultural routine and celebrate with friends and family.  

When you change the way you view your relationship with food, understanding that quality food aids in long term weight loss and frequent and smaller portions support an elevated metabolism, you’ll realize the benefit to eating 5 to 6 times per day. And over 8 weeks during the holidays this accounts for 250 meals in total. If you’re putting in the better choices most of the time, you aren’t going to add to your waist line during those 12 indulging holiday meals!

The bottom line is you don’t need to deprive yourself or experience all those guilty feelings when you decide to eat some of your favorite foods. Make wise food choices most of the time, add some resistance training and cardiovascular exercise into the mix, and you too will become one of those envied people who, “eats whatever they want and doesn’t gain an ounce during the holidays”.