Tag Archives: holidays

12 Days of Fitness 2019: Day 1 – 6 Tips for Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

(This is part 1 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

There are countless opportunities to pile on extra pounds during the holiday season. If you’re anything like me, it’s difficult to turn down all that scrumptious food and drink. And guess what? You shouldn’t! Forget denial and follow these science-based strategies to enjoy the season healthfully without making that tired resolution to lose the weight come the first of the year.

  1. Eat mindfully It takes time for our brains to respond to satiety signals that say “Stop eating! You’re full!” They’re either drowned out by our desire for more yumminess or because we are not giving your body the chance to react. The holiday season is meant to be savored, so enjoy each delectable dish to its fullest by eating mindfully. Chew slowly and focus on the experience..
  2. Drink water Liquid calories contribute significantly to our daily energy intake, especially during the holiday season when tasty libations abound. Our bodies aren’t great at recognizing that calories in liquid form contribute to fullness, so we tend to pack them on as extra. Choosing water rather than an alcoholic or sugar-sweetened beverage means you’re consuming fewer calories.
  3. Focus on veggies and fruits Holiday treats tend to be loaded in calories and rarely feature lighter fare like vegetables and fruits. “Eat more plants” may sound like tired advice, but there are so many festive ways to prepare plant-based dishes for your holiday table that help boost nutrition and keep calories in check. And why not feature fruit for dessert.
  4. Select smaller plates and cups Selecting smaller plates and cups leads to less food and drink consumed. Try setting your holiday table with smaller place settings. Choosing smaller plates is especially important in a buffet situation, which is a recipe for over-indulgence given all of the tasty choices for the taking. And smaller portions also means you’re more likely to finish what’s on your plate, which means less food waste.
  5. Watch your weight Weight gain occurs incrementally, and stepping on a scale either daily or several times a week is the easiest way to tell whether you’re holiday feasting has gone awry. Weight gain around the waist is especially harmful because of its inflammatory effect, so keeping track of how your clothes fit throughout the season is also key.
  6. Get out and play Weight gain is, ultimately, a simple equation: consuming more calories than you’re burning will lead to storage of energy as body fat. So the other side of energy balance—physical activity—needs to be on the list. Maintaining a fitness routine is a challenge during the holiday season, but the fact remains that we should actually increase our activity to offset the extra calories we’re consuming. Figure out what works for you and stick to it. And if stuff gets in the way, don’t beat yourself up; just get back out there when you can.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Fitness!

Your Holiday Survival Guide

‘Tis the season, or should I say ‘‘tis the season for unwanted pounds. Every year without fail, the holiday season rolls up on us and cares little for how you take care of yourself. The excuses compound, the social calendar explodes, and then there’s the holiday feasts themselves. Do you keep your daily regimen or do you think you will get restarted after the New Year? Either way, it’s a tough proposition to consider. One requires effort unlike any other time of year and the other, well, let’s just say is a form of surrender. It doesn’t have to be that way and following are some helpful tips for you to use and pull out ahead.

  • Schedule time to exercise. If it’s not scheduled, it will very quickly get passed on faster than you can slip on the ice. It doesn’t have to be your normal amount of time either. Set up 20 or 30 minute workouts which still leaves plenty of time to shop. And stick to it! Before you know it, the season will pass and you’ll either be on par or behind. Your choice.
  • Enjoy your holiday parties. No one likes a Scrooge. “I can’t eat this or that” will dampen a festive mode like 10 feet of snow! Go and enjoy but be mindful. Have a drink, have a bite, and don’t think one indiscretion is going to ruin you. If there’s going to be multiple parties, treat each one exactly the same and understand you are the one in control. Always.
  • Burn calories whenever possible. Some of the common sense things:
    • Do not fight for the up front parking spots at the shopping center. Instead park way in the back and walk, safely of course.
    • If you’re going to be traveling in airports, walk and don’t use the mechanical sidewalks.
    • Stand while baking or cooking.
    • Join the carolers and walk the neighborhood even if you can’t sing.
  • Calm down. The world isn’t going to end if you forget that one gift. Chances are it will still be there when the time allows. There’s no room for unwarranted anger over the holidays, unless of course your boss is like Clark Griswold’s.
  • Cherish every single moment. The holidays for many unfortunately is not a joyous time of year. Whatever your issue, someone has it harder. Make the most of your time whether with family or friends or even by yourself. The holiday spirit is real if you let it in.
  • Read and enjoy my 12 Days of Fitness which will begin on December 12th. 12 days of articles I’ve been working on throughout the year to help get you through the holidays covering a wide array of fitness topics. Feel free to share and pass on to others.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

12 Days of Fitness 2014: Day 7 – How Many Holiday Calories Are You Burning?

(This is Part 7 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Fire-Up-Your-MetabolismI’ve never been able to find evidence that substantiates this, but in my opinion I truly believe that the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s represent the lowest attrition to exercise of the year. There’s a lot going on with shopping, parties, family gatherings, travel, etc. that even the most consistent of exercisers get a bit side tracked. But for those who make a habit of finding every excuse as to why they didn’t exercise all year, the holiday season is essentially a free pass in their minds. Nevertheless, it’s still possible to burn calories over the holidays without so much as putting forth much extra effort because there are so many activities over the holidays that are above and beyond anything we would normally do throughout the year. However, add to that the surplus of calories most will bring in over the holidays and most likely you’ll end up with a net gain as opposed to a net loss. Here’s a breakdown of some holiday activities and their subsequent calorie expenditure as well as a few select exercise activities to compare to and see if you’re really making up the difference to justify not taking time out of your schedule to exercise. (Note: the following statistics are based on a 150 lb male)

Holiday Activity

 Watching TV – 46 Cal/Hour

Standing In Line – 94 Cal/Hour

Wrapping Gifts – 96 Cal/Hour

Baking – 159 Cal/Hour

Shopping – 162 Cal/Hour

Decorating Christmas Tree – 170 Cal/Hour

Child Care – 180 Cal/Hour

Cooking – 180 Cal/Hour

Light Housework – 198 Cal/Hour

Unloading/Loading Car – 216 Cal/Hour

Hanging Lights – 250 Cal/Hour

Shoveling Snow – 374 Cal/Hour

Fitness Activity

Weight Lifting – 234 Cal/Hour

Walking – 297 Cal/Hour

Pilates – 351 Cal/Hour

Jogging – 477 Cal/Hour

Spinning – 477 Cal/Hour

Rowing – 477 Cal/Hour

Elliptical – 774 Cal/Hour

Running – 783 Cal/Hour

See you tomorrow for Day 8 of the 12 Days of Fitness

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

12 Days of Fitness 2012 – Day 1: Stop Eating C.R.A.P.!

images(This is Part 1 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful fitness tips over the holiday season)

Well here we are at another holiday season and the countdown to the end of what I hope was a healthy and happy year for everyone. Over the next 11 days, I want to share with all of you a sort of gift I call the 12 Days of Fitness; 12 days of short tips, facts, insight, and guidance in all things health and fitness that I hope you will find useful and/or enlightening as we wipe the slate clean to start anew again. Not ever really needing a reason to talk about anything fitness related, I asked some of you to submit to me some topics and ideas that you would like to see discussed or some more information.  I will touch on a few of those as well as a few of my own. And as always, please feel free to pass on and share with those you feel would also like to gain some truthful fitness knowledge.  So without further ado, let’s begin.

Stop Eating C.R.A.P.

Short and sweet today. Of all the reading I do year round, this one particularly caught my attention. Not toilet humor, but still funny none the less. C.R.A.P. is actually an acronym coined by Dr. Sherry Rogers, a nationally known toxicology and health expert and published author. The letters in the acronym stand for:

  • C = caffeine and cola
  • R = refined food
  • A = additives and alcohol
  • P = processed foods and pasteurized dairy

According to Dr. Rogers, all of these foods will serve to make you fatter and contribute to health problems and disease that many don’t realize or appreciate until it’s too late. Some will say that it’s a bunch of silliness and others will say it doesn’t outline enough “crap”.

The point is, the more of your diet that is not natural food (food grown or raised without the help of industrialization), the greater the chance that your body is not receiving the nutrients it needs; it struggles more with trying to remain healthy; and at some point the body is just going to get tired of putting up with the s***t you put into it. And I do not care how much exercise you do – you cannot – CAN NOT – out train bad nutrition.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

See you tomorrow for Day 2 of the 12 Days of Fitness

 

My 2012 Fitness Challenge personal update – 34,400 push ups done as of publishing time

 

 

 

The 12 Days of Fitness – Day 12 – Have A Holly, Jolly….Good Time

Holiday MadnessReady or not, it is here. A holiday for most.  A day off for others.  Nevertheless, there’s bound to be lots of eating, drinking, and sedentary activity.  Just another day you say?  Perhaps. But we’re now in the home stretch of a season that seems to “sneak up” on people each year, and I’m not referring to the shopping.  It will come to pass but if you don’t watch yourself it will come to haunt you again next year.  It’s calorie overload!

You Are What You Eat

One of the more common phrases when talking about nutrition, and it rings true, loud, and clear.  If you think of food more as fuel and nourishment instead of something evil that just keeps finding its way to your mouth, you’ll appreciate it more.  I like to use the analogy of going to put gas in your car.  I’m not really a car guy, so bear with me.  You have a choice of 87, 89, and 93 octanes.  The higher the number, the better the quality (i.e. the car runs better).  Allegedly. But all 3 will make your car go.  Same with food.  All food will provide fuel – some better than others.  So, are you fueling a Pinto or a Ferrari?

Food For Thought

Now before you go thinking that I don’t eat or drink anything bad, I come from a big Italian family and we know how to celebrate a holiday.  I will thoroughly enjoy myself for one, two, probably three days, but then it’s right back to eating well (fueling the Ferrari) and picking my physical activity right where I left off.  Yes, I will even enjoy a few days of physical rest too.  The other day I came across a website that will calculate for you just how many calories you could consume in one holiday and the amount of physical work you would have to do to burn it off.  Here’s just a small sampling of the damage (and holly jolliness) that is possible.  And don’t think you’re not capable of it either!

  • 1 mixed drink; 1 glass of wine;  1 cup of eggnog; ½ a cup of mixed, raw veggies; ½ cup of mixed nuts;  one teaspoon of chip dip; ½ cup of Chex mix;  2 oz. boiled shrimp with cocktail sauce; 2 oz. Swedish meatballs; 3 cups salad greens with 2 tbsp. dressing; 1 tablespoon ranch dressing; 6 oz of cured ham; 6 oz of white and dark turkey; 6 oz of prime rib; ½ cup of stuffing,; ½ cup of mashed potatoes; ½ cup of green bean casserole; 2 small chocolate-chip cookies; a slice of pumpkin pie;  a shortbread cookie; a snickerdoodle cookie…and a partridge in a pear tree.
  • That comes to 4347 calories. You would have to walk 43.47 miles, or 86940 steps, assuming you cover one mile in 2,000 steps.

 Wow! Don’t let that dampen your spirits.  Enjoy yourself, but keep things in perspective.  Only 364 days to work it all off!