Jolly Without the Jelly: 2 Ways to Fight Holiday Weight Gain

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The leaves are falling.  The weather is changing.  The holiday season is upon us, ladies! We all have created and celebrated traditions with family and friends during the holiday months, but in the corners of our minds the truth pecks at us: our health and wellness goals are at risk.

We all have our own traditions, and the majority of these traditions involve one or both of these two things: food and relaxation.

Never fear! There are safe and effective ways to continue burning calories through Grandma’s Perfect Pecan Pie, and It’s a Wonderful Life twenty-four-hour-long screenings.

#1) Weight Loss Enemy #1: Food

If your holiday traditions involve food, it is important to prepare yourself for the upcoming battle. Whether you are having your annual “Wine and Cheese Shindig” or heading over to Grandma’s house for turkey with all the calorie-packed fixins, it is important to be prepared for the seemingly endless buffet you are about to encounter.

Your first line of defense is calorie counters.  I know it goes against everything you heard from the almighty Dr. Oz (praise be), but I’m not asking you to count calories for purposes of starving your body (this is very bad).  It is important to count calories in order to help us be more aware of what we are putting into our bodies.  Even Biggest Loser super hunk, Dolvett Quince, sees the perks of the calorie counter.

It is the way we use the calorie counter that really matters.  It is dangerous to count calories as a means of limiting yourself.

There are dozens of calorie-counting apps available for smartphones.  Find one that is accessible to you, and begin entering your calorie intake well before the holidays begin.  Here is the trick with any calorie counter you acquire: be honest, and don’t starve yourself simply because you’ve reached and surpassed your calorie-intake for the day, just attempt to burn those calories at a later date.

Once you are comfortable with calorie counting, you can show up to that shindig or Grandma’s house armed with the knowledge of what foods are best for your health plan.

Your second line of defense is to take the reins. Offer to make a dish or two for the table (you can be sneaky about it, and simply “forget” to mention that this dish is healthy or gluten-free).  According to Tom Kelso of Strength and Conditioning, one slice of Grandma’s Perfect Pecan Pie is 532 calories, which takes approximately one hour of hardcore cardio to burn off.  Yikes! Why not bring a nice fruit platter to add to that desert table?

#2) Weight Loss Enemy #2: Lack of Exercise

It’s cold! I can’t swim or go for a walk! I can’t ride my bike, and I hate the gym!  It’s no wonder the average American gains seven to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas, according to Tara Parker-Pope of  Let that sink in for a moment.  Those of us who struggle with weight loss know how difficult it is to lose those seven to ten pounds.

Why does this weight gain happen?  We go dormant during the winter months.  We hibernate.  We crawl onto the couch with a big mug of cocoa and promise ourselves we will exercise in the spring.

The only line of defense for this is to start moving.  Stop procrastinating.  Your calorie counter shows that you ate 3,600 calories at Grandma’s house last night, and it is important to recognize that a lack of movement will keep those calories attached to you.

If you are an outdoor exercise fan, consider a trek through the snowy backyard.  Dress up in your winter gear, and start laps.  Lift your knees as high as you can.  Each day, add another lap.

Allergic to the cold?  Yeah, me too.  Start an exercise routine during TV time.  Before the It’s a Wonderful Life repeat-watch begins, do some jumping jacks and run in place.  This will get your heart moving.  As the movie plays again and again, start your crunches and lunges and push-ups.  Repeat after me: Where there is a floor, there is a way.

Make cleaning fun! Dance while you fold your laundry.  Move the furniture around and vacuum under it.  There is no need to wait for spring to clean your house! Turn the music up, and dust those pounds away!

Now it’s your turn to sound off! The holiday months are the most difficult to lose weight and keep those pounds off.  Do you have any tips, tricks, or creative winter exercises that you want to share?  Are there any other holiday weight loss enemies you can think of? Please share below!

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