Why people gain weight during the holidays
Rewarding oneself with too much rest and food at year’s end is an unhealthy mindsetBy Mitch Felipe Mendoza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Aside from food availability and social gatherings, the holiday bulge is usually the result of your current mindset, mistaken exercise and eating game plans, and not having the right time management and self-control skills for weight management this time of the year.
Before you even attempt to lose another pound this season, try to identify the major reasons why you usually find it difficult to manage your weight during holidays, and then manage the weight gain triggers.
In fact, just being able to maintain your current weight during the whole season is already a great effort and a good foundation for the start of 2012.
The year-end mindset
You must be so tired and stressed by now from your work and other obligations. It’s common for people to have the yearend mindset of rewarding oneself with too much rest, vacation, shopping and food for a good year. But your health and fitness goals might be at risk if you always have this thinking year by year, since there’s a greater tendency to avoid physical activities and to treat oneself to high-calorie foods.
Sign up for fitness events or races for next year so you can still continue training and burning calories during the holidays. It is even better to train outdoors in December because of the cool weather and the amount of time you can devote to exercising.
If you joined a weight-loss challenge this year, make sure that your final weigh-in will not be in December, because you might just regain most of the weight during the season. Delay the final weigh-in until January or later, so you can focus on at least maintaining your weight during this time.
Giving and receiving food as presents
Aside from money, the most practical and easiest gifts to give nowadays are food. If you receive food items like ham or pastries, even if you try to avoid to eating these items, if you keep everything at home, you might still end up finishing everything.
As early as now, buy fitness gifts like workout clothes, fitness and nutrition books, fitness service gift checks, or fitness equipment for your family and friends. And as a rule, don’t give any gifts related to food. You can give the gifts ahead of time so people will become motivated to start a healthier lifestyle and even give you wellness gifts instead of their usual sweet food treats.
Becoming too dependent on programmed exercises
Most exercisers become very dependent on gym facilities like exercise cardio machines so when vacation comes, they find it difficult to engage in physical activity because they are used to doing it inside a gym or under the supervision of a personal trainer.
Focus on the exercises that you can do at home or even while on vacation. As early as now, start learning how to run, jog or do brisk walking properly outdoors so whenever you’re on a vacation, you can still work out. Buy hand exercise equipment that you can use at home or wherever you may be, like an exercise band, a lightweight body weight trainer, skipping rope, and doable exercise videos that you can always follow.
Hire a qualified fitness professional who can guide you before and during the holiday season, and can give you the best exercise program you can do even on your own.
No planning and preparation
You can always say to yourself that you cannot gain this holiday season, but studies show that lack of planning and preparation can sabotage your weight management efforts. Strength of will is not enough to survive this challenging time of the year. Even the healthiest and fittest people have a hard time during holidays.
Set your goals, make a plan, and write everything down. If you want to maintain your weight, then identify the events that you might be at risk for this month. If you have a Christmas party to attend, list down your strategies: Eat a filling snack two hours before the dinner party, drink only one to two glasses of wine, avoid deep-fried foods, and have just have a small piece of dessert.
At home, you should always make sure you have food with quality calories like fruits, vegetables, lean meat, seafoods, low-fat milk, brown rice, whole-grain breads and pasta for when you get hungry.
Get enough rest and sleep so you do not use food as a stress-reliever the next day.
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