Tips to Stay in Shape During the Holiday Season
Research has shown that Americans consume between 3,000 and 5,000 calories during holiday meals. Considering that this amount is more than many individuals eat in a given day, it is no wonder that you may have serious concerns about holiday weight gain. Fortunately, there are ways to work around this without sacrificing fun with friends and family. The following suggestions provide insight on how to stay in shape this holiday season.
1. Dance It Off
Dancing is a great way to perk up any holiday gathering. You can set up a traditional dance floor or organize a dance competition using software like Playstation, Xbox One, or Nintendo Wii. Many of these software programs have fitness settings or calorie counters that can help you burn off some of the excess food intake.
2. Enjoy Brisk Outdoor Fun
If you live in a non-snowy region, outdoor activities such as jogging or flag football can allow you to warm up quickly. Walking with friends or family after dinner is a great way to view beautiful scenery and burn calories, and you can also bring along portable exercise equipment such as resistance bands for an extra workout. Do you live in icier temperatures? Winter-friendly activities such as ice skating, skiing, hiking, and snowboarding are great ways to burn off calories. Some communities also host holiday-themed marathons suitable for the entire family. If you absolutely prefer to stay indoors, you can go to the mall early and walk a few laps before enjoying holiday shopping.
3. Reduce Intake of Appetizers, Snacks, and Sweets
From candy canes to fruitcake, the holidays are notorious for having a legion of snacks sitting around. By forgoing these extras, you can reduce your overall calorie intake.
4. Use Smaller Plates
It turns out that the elegant china and smaller plates may also help you stay in shape over the holidays. Researchhas shown people who use smaller plates, bowls, and spoons may consume 20-percent fewer calories. Invest in a gorgeous table setting to impress guests and keep your weight under control.
5. Dim the Lighting
Similarly, studies have shown that dining in soft lighting can decrease food consumption by up to 18 percent. Whether you want to host a candlelit dinner or relax by the open fire, create a subdued ambiance in order to consume fewer calories.
6. Take Your Time
Research has shown that people who chew quickly may consume three times the amount of food per meal than people who take their time eating. Emphasize the relaxing side of holiday dining and eat slowly. In addition, wait at least 20 minutes before diving into seconds. According to research, your body needs at least one-third of an hour to determine whether you feel full.
7. Avoid Sneaky Liquid Calories
Holiday concoctions such as eggnog, peppermint mocha, and White Russian cocktails can stack on the calories pretty quickly. Fortunately, there are other ways to participate in boozy festivities. Select drinks with few calories (such as a Bloody Mary, vodka soda, or wintergreen mojito) to reduce caloric and fat intake. Additionally, you can dilute non-alcoholic drinks with sparkling water for a festive, palatable drink with half the calories.
8. Keep a Food Journal
Whether you wish to use an online app or keep a spiral notebook handy, writing down your food choices may help prevent mindless snacking. You can also use a calorie calculator or counter to notate the best and worst recipes for splurging.
9. Get Enough Sleep
Given the bustle of holiday shopping, decorating, and event hosting, it is unsurprising that some people do not get enough sleep. However, lack of sleep can have devastating consequences on your fitness level. Studies have shown that lack of sleep may cause the body to muster its resources for survival mode, triggering the synthesis of the hunger hormone known as ghrelin. Simultaneously, this hormonal mode may decrease production of the satiety (or fullness) hormone known as leptin. Both of these hormonal reactions can result in overeating and weight gain. In addition, sleep deprivation may deplete energy needed to participate in winter sports and activities. Finally, lack of sleep can cause you to eat more to supply the energy needed to stay up longer (particularly in the evening). Try to get a full-night’s sleep and avoid packing on the pounds.
10. Take Charge of Personal Wellness
Although packed with traditional fun and food favorites, the holidays often include diet landmines and saboteurs. Even holiday foods that “seem” healthy may do more harm than good in the long run. (One such example is a green bean casserole, a dish that “sounds” healthy but includes so much fat and sodium that it may have a detrimental effect on the heart and overall weight management.) Since holiday traditions may not supply you with the nutritional value needed to sustain good health, strengthen your efforts with the use of a wellness or supplement system. One such system is the Kyani Triangle of Health. This three-part system includes a morning supplement to vitalize organs and provide initial energy, an evening supplement to restore and repair the body during sleep, and a nitric oxide supplement to ensure effective absorption of nutrients.
11. Choose Lower-Calorie Side Course Options
Review menus during the holiday season and be sure to incorporate low-calorie options. For example, you can find numerous low-fat soup recipes online. Soups are a welcome boom during freezing weather, and these dishes are also filling, making you less likely to gorge on more fattening alternatives.
12. Make Healthy, Creative Use of Leftovers
While you may view a holiday meal as the perfect opportunity for a “cheat day,” choosing healthier leftover alternatives can take the strain off of your waistline. Holiday leftovers offer a wealth of opportunities to incorporate healthy ingredients. For example, you can prepare turkey tortilla soup with loaded with fat-burning chilies, or you can use the leftover cranberry sauce to make cranberry-oatmeal breakfast bars or cranberry-mustard pretzel dip. Using recipes rich in magnesium and vitamin C can also help your immune system build defenses against the harsh winter season.
The holiday season is not merely a time to lounge and indulge in ham and Baileys Irish Cream. With a set plan in place, you can avoid sluggishness during the holidays and remain in excellent shape to ring in the new year.