The upcoming holiday season, from Thanksgiving to New Year, can be a time to fall into “relax mode” with exercise and diet. Don’t let the excuse of busy schedules, party hopping, errands or travel be the culprit that gets you off track (and overweight) this year. To avoid weight gain this holiday season, establish your pre-holiday routine now by watching your caloric intake and incorporating more movement into each day.
Research shows that, on average, we consume an extra 619 calories a day during the holiday season, which figures out to be about a five-pound weight gain. The average person has the potential to consume over 4500 calories coupled with 200 grams of fat (that equates to 1800 calories from fat) over the course of a typical Thanksgiving day alone!
Unfortunately, it doesn’t get any better a month later when Americans eat, on average, more than 7,000 calories on Christmas Day, according to research by Associated British Foods. That’s more than three times the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s recommended daily caloric intake.
If you feel like you are veering off course a bit, eating too much and not moving enough, try the following tips to get you back on track:
- Increase the volume or intensity of your daily workout (both strength and cardio). Not currently exercising? Start!
- Wear a pedometer and increase your daily steps over the course of the next 30 days. Add an additional 500-1000 steps to your weekly step count.
- Watch those extra empty calories from soda, juices, alcohol and sugary flavored coffees. The average person consumes close to an additional 450 calories a day through drinking soda, alcohol and other high-calorie beverages.
- Avoid alcohol, if possible, and be sure to have a glass of water in between cocktails when you do imbibe. At a party, opt for sparkling seltzer with fruit or a touch of fruit juice to feel festive.
- Avoid any late-night eating.
- Start each morning off with 16 ounces of water (add some lemon).
- Try daily meditation (10-minutes/day with the Headspace app) to remain calm and intent on your goals.
During this holiday season, think of exercise as a way to prevent weight gain. We call this the “Holiday Hold ‘em” – working to maintain your current lean muscle levels and body weight by increasing your activity so that you can enjoy a little holiday indulgence.
If you are looking to lose weight, the key is to increase your activity level above and beyond what you’re currently doing. In addition, be more mindful of your caloric intake, especially later in the day.
So, if you get off on the wrong foot with your Thanksgiving eating this Thursday, have no fear. There is always the next day to get back on track and re-focus, and we are here to help you do just that.
Michael Wood, CSCS
Chief Fitness Officer, Koko FitClub