Making It Through the Holidays

image19The holiday season is finally here and my four year old keeps asking me “Is it Christmas yet?” He can’t wait until they turn on the “park lights” so we can “see Santa.”

While the holidays are usually a time for reflection and joy, I know they can be a sad time for some. If this is the case for you, I’m truly sorry, and pray God will grant you some peace.

One of the best things you can do is try not to go it alone. Try and find someone to share some time with. Look for ways to get involved with others. Nothing seems to help our spirits more than to help someone else. It’s hard sometimes, but if you can take that first step, it can get better, I promise you.

Another problem we face this time of year, is that it’s so easy to eat too much. I’ve read the average person gains five pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably already had at least one meal that could really have been two, or even three. We had our Thanksgiving potluck at church last week. We’ve got another one coming up, plus a couple of big holiday meals at home.

Over the years, I’ve tried to help people at least maintain their weight over the holidays. Then one year, I worked with a couple that actually lost weight while on vacation, on a cruise ship! This is what they did.

They worked out every day in the ship’s fitness center. They also walked lots of laps around the outer deck. But the main thing they did was eat only when they would normally have eaten at home. And they took small portions when eating at those big buffets.

If they could do it in that environment, we can do it too. We just need to employ the same strategies. Go to the gym every day. Walk a few miles on top of that. Only eat at the regular times, and take small portions. If you can keep to this strategy, you can maintain your weight.

Don’t miss your workouts. If your workout usually burns 500 calories, missing one day won’t kill you. But do it seven days in a row and you’ll gain a pound of fat if you don’t cut back your intake, too. Do it a few weeks in a row and ta-da, there are your five pounds, just look down!

But what really gets us is missing workouts AND eating more. That combination will double your weight gain. So definitely don’t do that.

That said, here are a couple strategies that have worked well for many of our Biggest Losers. I use them too.

If you know you’re going to a potluck, or out to a buffet, skip the meal beforehand. I know some say that just makes you hungry so you’ll overeat when you get there. But I’ve observed most of us eat a lot in those situations, regardless of how hungry we are.

If you save some calories before, it will give you some wiggle room. You may be over for that meal, but you don’t have to be over for the DAY. That’s when you gain weight. So end the day even and you’ll stay even, regardless of the potluck or buffet.

Now that you have a little room to work with, take small portions, and don’t fill your whole plate up. Cut yourself off while you’re still in line. If it’s on your plate, you’ll probably eat it.

I mean really. If you can’t even see your plate under that heaping mound of food, you’re going to get fat. I don’t care how much you work out. You can’t outwork stupid.

Furthermore, don’t go back for seconds. You don’t need em. You already had em. Maybe even thirds. To help make up for it, later in the day, skip your snacks, too. Eat a lighter meal than usual. All these things can help you stay even.

Finally, I know I mentioned this earlier, but THIS is not the day to skip your workout. Ideally, you’ll hit it before the meal so you’ll just burn most of it off. In a perfect world, you’ll hit it again later, with at least some light cardio.

For our Biggest Losers, we shoot for two workouts a day anyway, because that’s how you lose the most weight. People who do a second workout lose twice as much weight as those who don’t.

Know that you’re going to face these challenges. If you ignore them, you’re going to gain weight. But if you pay attention and have a strategy, you can win the battle of the belly this year.

To help you do it, our next Biggest Loser “23” starts Monday, December 1st at 7:00 pm. We’re going to work hard to help you stay focused for the next seven weeks, and get you through the holidays.

Like last time, we’re including all the daily workouts, and the bootcamp and kickboxing classes too. Let me know if you’d like to participate.

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