OK, despite your best intentions, you overindulged at that holiday party, or the treat table at work has become your lunch stop. Either way, you can still make it through the holidays without gaining the average five pounds by taking time for holiday exercise.
If you find you have overindulged, the first step is to not feel guilty. If you’re going to indulge, do it mindfully, in the open. Take a piece of whatever it is you’re craving. Use more of your senses to truly enjoy it. Look at it, smell it, before taking the first taste.
If you slow down and savor every bite, you may find you’re much happier with only two or three bites, rather than the entire cake or batch of cookies. Don’t gulp it down like a naughty child afraid of getting caught. You have enough stress this time of year!
So just recommit and write out your plan. Use the tips from last week to map it out. Review your plan every morning and each time you go out in the evening to remind yourself what you’re trying to accomplish with your health.
The key is to choose what you want to eat and then, eat it mindfully. Don’t bolt it down. Don’t eat to keep your hands busy. Don’t eat because you’re stressed or bored.
If you’re stressed or bored, your better option is to move your body. Holiday exercise helps dissipate the cortisol in your system so you feel calmer and more in control.
I teach Pilates and I’m a personal trainer, so you knew holiday exercise would pop up as a strategy sooner or later! Now, when I say holiday exercise, I’m not suggesting your hit the gym for a couple of hours of weights and cardio. If you had that kind of time and motivation, you’d be doing it already.
I’m saying, when the goodies are calling your name, take a walk. A brisk walk around the block or parking lot can do wonders at increasing your energy and reducing your stress, not to mention your waist line. Another tip for holiday exercise? Walk around the neighborhood and admire everyone’s Christmas lights.
One more tip for holiday exercise is to do two minutes of strenuous exercise before you eat foods high in carbs and sugar. Your body stores a small amount of sugar in your muscles and liver as glycogen. Doing two minutes of quick, high intensity exercise depletes those stores, so the carbs you eat are quickly shuttled back into the muscles to replace the glycogen, rather than circulating in your blood stream and stored as fat.
Time Ferris recommends 40 squats and 40 wall push-ups in two minutes. Teresa Tapp suggests an exercise called Hoe-downs. Either recommendation serves the same purpose, to deplete your sugar reserves and move the sugar you eat into your muscles as quickly as possible.
If you currently exercise on a regular basis, let me encourage you to continue with it. It helps reduce your stress. You may even consider adding additional holiday exercise to your current schedule to help keep things in balance.
Remember, weight gain is not a given. Fit in time for holiday exercise and you’ll feel better, look better, and welcome the holidays with less stress! See you next week.