What are your food triggers?
Traffic, holly jolly holiday music, endless calls from distant relatives?
While these all in retrospect may seem trivial, they in the present moment can, and may be a trigger that sends you spiraling into of a bag of your favorite midnight snacks or too many after work happy hours.
Has this ever been you during the holiday season?
So the holiday season is here and you are excited to make travel arrangements, pack up your life, kids, make your way through security check points, spend a few extra hours working on that project just so you can spend quality time with your family- surrounded by food you will most likely regret having eaten anyway. Ahhh yes what a wonderful time of year...NOT!
I bet you're not even done eating your left over Halloween candy, I mean all of the left over candy corn has to go somewhere, right? And here we are now in November trying to avoid the holiday "fluff" and muffin tops.
But I am here to let you know there are easy solutions to these issues. Preparation is key, and not difficult to do in this fitness crazed era. So here are 3 key tips on how to keep the extra pounds off this year's holiday season.
Tip 1: Leave the extra baggage at home
Toxic family relationships can add to your increased stress levels making it more likely for you to drink alcohol through the holidays and feeling even more stressed when it's all said and done. Both alcohol and stress are major contributors to weight gain. I've seen this year after year with my clients. One easy way to help escape the toxic mental space is to meditate 10 minutes at the beginning of your day. There is an awesome app you can download to any mobile device called "Headspace" that will guide you through daily meditations. Give it a try!
Tip 2: Plan for 30 minutes of activity each day.
Small spurts of activity is better than no activity. Does your neighborhood have a local gym? Most fitness clubs are slow around the holidays because many people are away so they offer anywhere between 3-7 day trial passes to have full access at no extra cost to you. And ask if there is a trainer available to assist showing you around the club to make that one less thing on your mind.
Is there an old high school stadium you played as a teen? Relive your glory days by taking a few laps around the track and checking out the new facilities. If you are a parent bring your children to keep them active and away from their gaming systems.
The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic exercise for long term heart heath (AHA). So plan to either break this up into three 10 minute sessions or knock it out to begin your day. The intention of becoming more mindful during exercise also promotes less anxious feelings. The controlling of your deep breaths and awareness of the different sensations happening within your body draws you in to being more tapped into your feelings (Robinson, Segal, Smith). In turn this interrupts the constant worries that would have otherwise occupied your mental space.
Tip 3: Plan your meals!
Do not let all of the the tempting holiday favorites make you lose focus of your body's limits. Take your time getting around to those second and third plates. If you want to enjoy your mother's delectable pumpkin pie, your aunt's irresistible holiday ham, or your grandmothers famous fried turkey .Plan your meals accordingly. Still plan to eat frequently throughout the day; doesn't have to be full meals , but enough to keep your metabolism active. This will help with digestion and regulation of your appetite come dinner time. And to further trick yourself, try eating dinner on a smaller plate; lets leave the turkey being the only thing stuffed at the dinner table.
I want to be fully transparent as a fitness and health professional. The idea of spending time with family is lovely, but the reality for many of us is that it's actually a lot more stressful and complicated than any of us like. So, instead of feeling overwhelmed and finding yourself with those few unwanted additional pounds and scrambling to unfreeze that gym membership in January, follow these 3 easy tips that could help get you through this holiday season like a champ.
Category: Healthy Lifestyles, Holiday Weight Management, General Health, Holiday Health Hacks, Fitness
“American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults.” Www.heart.org, 18 Apr. 2018, www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/aha-recs-for-physical-activity-in-adults.
Robinson, Lawrence, et al. “The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise.” The Exercise Prescription for Depression, Anxiety, and Stress, Sept. 2018, www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/the-mental-health-benefits-of-exercise.htm.
Author: Gloria B. Smith