Yikes! The holidays are here… and just when you’ve finally gotten used to your new eating and exercise regimen, temptation rears its ugly head again with an endless buffet of Christmas treats. It’s enough to make you give up entirely until after New Year’s Day – especially when you’re away from home and have little control over the food served. But don’t! If you want to know how to stay healthy during the holiday season, you should know that it’s a lot easier than you might think. And, while you may not lose any weight during this time, with a few simple exercises and a commitment to eat moderately, you certainly can maintain your weight and fitness level.
Since Christmas, time is often too hectic to get to the gym, your focus should be on the minimum. If you can do more, great, but a light strength training workout just 2 days a week will maintain your muscle mass at a respectable level until after the holidays. As far as the rest of your workouts, it may be hard to squeeze those in, but going on brisk walks or going jogging can be done wherever you might be, and it doesn’t require a gym membership. If you’re out of town in a hotel, they often have exercise gyms you can take advantage of, too. But, if all else fails and you simply can’t get to the gym, just try to incorporate exercise wherever you can. Basic calisthenics, simple cardio, and floor exercises can do the trick. They include simple exercises like jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging in place, abdominal crunches, leg lifts, lunges, squats, and running up the stairs.
When exercises during the holidays, you should also ditch the time-block mentality. During your regular exercise routines throughout the year, that 30 minutes of cardiovascular activity that’s recommended is normally done all at once, in one big block – but what most people don’t realize is that you don’t have to do it that way, at least not all the time. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, as long as you do your 30 minutes of cardio in at least 10 minute bursts, you can get the same benefits.
When it comes to all that delicious food, eating moderately is the key. The holidays present foods that you don’t normally eat during the rest of the year, so feel free to enjoy them without guilt – just don’t overload on them. Try to use the old standard of filling up on the veggies first and drinking a large glass of water. Even when your favorite foods are staring you down, if you’re already filling a little full, it can help you eat slower and eat a little less.
The last recommendation I have for maintaining your weight during the holidays is to educate yourself on which of your favorite holiday foods contain the most calories, and what your basal simple BMR calculator). The BMR calculator estimates how many calories you burn in at day, using your age, height and weight as a guide. When you know how many calories your body burns in a day, you will know your break-even point. This is important, because while many people focus on low-fat alternatives during the holidays, the bottom line is still the same: metabolic rate is (you can use
Calories In + Calories Out = Gaining, Losing, or Maintaining
So, no matter what you eat during the holidays, if you can get a general idea of which foods contain the most calories, it can be easier to balance what you are eating and know where your break-even point is. As long as you end up close to your BMR burn at the end of the day, you aren’t going to gain any weight.
When you make a commitment to simple exercises and you eat moderately, you can maintain your weight and keep your body healthy. Learning how to stay healthy during the holidays takes only a few minutes out of your day, but it can be a lifesaver when you hit that scale going into the new year.
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