The holidays are a wonderful time of year.
There’s time spent with family, community events, religious celebrations, office parties,
The time where people enjoy the holidays with all the gift giving and feasting to their heart’s content.
Unfortunately, that also comes with a more casual (or often non-existent) approach to maintaining a healthy weight and can bring on what I like to call dreaded ‘holiday belly bulge.’
AVOIDING THE THREE MOST COMMON HOLIDAY FAT LOSS MISTAKES
Want to avoid the 3 most common mistakes people make that cause weight gain during the holidays? Then read on so you can enjoy the holidays while keeping the holiday belly bulge at bay.
1. Falling Completely Off-Track With Exercise and Physical Activity
When the holidays arrive, many people act like they are on vacation. They’re thinks goes something like this: “I can just relax now. I don’t have to work out or what my nutrition. I’m excused since it’s the holidays.”
Unfortunately, this type of thinking can lead to something that becomes very hard to recover from: a total loss of momentum.
I like to use the analogy of a plane. It take much less effort for a plane to maintain its momentum once it’s flying at a steady altitude than when it’s nosediving.
Same with our fitness. It’s much easier to keep our momentum than to have to climb all the way back up to a good level after nosediving for a month by doing no physical activity and eating poorly.
What can we do to combat this? Well, just do something.
Even if it is something small, like a 5-minute walk or taking the stairs instead of the escalator, it still counts. Doing something – no matter how small – is a lot better than doing nothing at all and all those little actions add up. Best of all, it keeps the commitment of being fit and healthy top of mind, which leads to keep your discipline at a higher level vs. getting weak in that department. (Discipline is like a muscle; the more you use it the stronger it gets).
Plus, it will be easier to get back into the groove of consistency once the holiday obligations have passed.
So, look for creative ways to fit fitness in, even if it’s just a little something. It’s WAY better than doing nothing.
Alternatively, if you can fit 20 minutes, do one of the challenging 20-minute HIIT cardio workouts featured in the Motion Traxx fitness app.
2. Totally Overdoing The Indulgences
Holiday events like office parties, dinners, happy hours, etc. are usually full of tempting food and drink.
While I am all for having fun during the holiday season, it is important to have a bit of discipline and self control during this time in order to not set yourself so far back that losing the unwanted holiday belly bulge become so daunting in January.
One way to achieve this by setting a ‘personal safe limit’ on how many drinks you will have (usually 1 to 3 drinks for most people) or how much food you will consume before arriving at the event.
If you have to choose between limiting food or alcohol, I recommend limiting alcohol. Not only is alcohol the most damaging to the waistline and our overall health, but it leads to reduced willpower and the inevitable overeating that results.
3. Naively Setting Unrealistic Expectations
The holidays are such a busy time of year that people sometimes underestimate how hectic they can be. Relatives visiting, events for the kids, religious ceremonies, etc. These will most certainly disrupt your usual fitness routine.
For example, I spent Thanksgiving with my family where we interacted with each other and ate the holiday fest together. Towards the end, we had a surplus of food and dessert that that my mom coerced me to take home and ended up in my cupboard. Most of it is stuff I love and have a hard time saying no to (apple pie, brownies, cookies… just kill me now).
This surplus of good food creates temptations that can cause a dent in my fitness progress. In order to not be caught off guard and give in to these treats, I am going to do what I prescribe to my fitness coaching clients: a ‘cupboard clean out’.
This basically doing a sweep of your cupboard to eliminate foods that are tempting and not line with the habits to which you say you’re committed. (Please don’t tell my mom I’m throwing out her food!).
By the way, I’m not saying I’m going to throw out ALL my brownies, but I will minimize the damage by having them on the days I exercise and have more of a caloric budget created by working out.
So, these are three of the most common mistakes I see people making around the holidays. By using the suggestions above, you can avoid the ‘holiday belly bulge’, while still having fun this holiday season.
Season’s fitness greetings!