This weight-control guide is not an exercise-diet plan, but a lifestyle change strategy that can help you deal with common challenges you will face during the holiday season.
It will cover the most important and proven weight-management skills essential to change one’s lifestyle into a positive and healthier one. A super-fit triathlete or a sedentary person can benefit from this guide.
You might be willing and always ready to change for the better when it comes to health and lifestyle, but still don’t know how and where to start.
Set your lifestyle goals in the next several weeks. This is about how you live, plan and prepare your meals, manage your sleep and stress, and how often you exercise. For example: lessen eating out from four to once a week; walk at least 30 minutes a day for six days; and get at least six hours of sleep every day.
You may need to weigh yourself now, and once a week, then record it so you will know if you can maintain or even lose some weight in the coming weeks.
Free your place from high-calorie foods. At this point, willpower may not be enough to totally avoid chocolates or doughnuts in your personal ref.
Social support is very important to changing one’s lifestyle. But the influence of other people can bring you down in terms of weight control, especially if they have a different frame of mind.
Always be with family and friends who are willing to help you; get their support and encourage them to do the lifestyle change with you.
Focus on positive things and learn from mistakes. Consider disappointments and failures as part of life and take the opportunity to improve and grow.
You might get busy preparing for Christmas gifts and parties, so there’s less time to start or continue a formal exercise program like using a treadmill, joining an exercise class or exercising with your trainer. So, find the most doable and convenient way on how you can move a lot.
Find out how active you are by wearing a pedometer or a FitBit to measure your movements within the day.
You can still burn calories by malling and shopping for Christmas gifts, but make sure you don’t overeat after the activity. Don’t worry about holiday errands, remember that the more you move, the more you burn calories.
Avoid holiday stress by getting enough sleep and eating on time. Never skip breakfast and always put an emergency snack inside your bag, so wherever you go, you have something to munch on. I usually bring a piece of wheat bread with peanut butter and two packs of crackers. I find this habit very effective in sustaining my energy level and avoiding overeating.
When December rolls in, focus on practicing healthy eating strategies because you will use these skills throughout the month.
Practice portion control. During main meals, fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables; then ¼ with rice, pasta or bread; and the remaining ¼ with protein like skinless chicken, seafood or lean meats during main meals.
Set aside time to shop for healthy foods and learn how to prepare your own food so you get to control the quality of what you eat. Go online for healthy recipes with corresponding calorie content.
You might also want to write down your food intake to have an idea on what and how much you are really eating, so you will know what to change and how to control it.
With lots of gatherings this December, you need to learn skills on how to stick to your weight-control program without too much deprivation so you can enjoy the holiday season.
Avoid overeating during these gatherings by munching something 30-60 minutes before the event. It can be a 150- to 250-calorie snack like a light sandwich, or a fruit and a yogurt, or milk.
During the actual gathering, stick to your healthy plate food allowance and limit drinking flavored drinks and alcohol only up to two servings.
During last-minute holiday obligations, Simbang Gabi and more dining out, you will always be exposed to food. You might also be stressed out because you have more things to do and even lack sleep.
Continue to burn calories from last-minute shopping, but make sure that you get enough rest to recharge and control stress. Keep in mind that lack of sleep and stress will affect your judgment on eating the right food.
Aside from portion control, learn how to choose healthy alternatives when eating out. Go for grilled, roasted, boiled, steamed food; avoid those that are creamy, deep-fried and breaded.
Lots of food around and lack of physical activity are the major reasons you can gain a significant amount of weight during the holidays. Some can consume more than 3,000 or more calories in just one day of celebration.
Avoid touching leftovers that you will see in the pantry or inside the refrigerator. Don’t keep food gifts at home; share them with people who are much in need.
Aside from doing chores, errands and walking, start your 20- to 30-minute home workout to burn extra calories gained from a slice of cake or from a serving of lechon. A home workout can be as simple as doing body weight exercises, following exercise videos, or doing a routine that you can view on YouTube.
Relearning to relax
Stress, food availability and vacation hangover are the biggest challenges after the holidays. It will be good to renew goals so you can end 2013 and start 2014 on the right foot.
Sit back, relearn how to recharge and relax so you can go back to work with renewed energy and motivation. Get a massage, attend mind-body classes like Tai-chi, yoga, or meditate on your own.
Review your past year, reset your goals and plan for a new and better year. Write down your achievements, things to improve on and what to accomplish for the following year. You can do this alone or with someone close to you like your best friend or spouse.