Guest writer: Jennifer Cassetta, clinical nutritionist, personal trainer and self-defense expert
The average American really only gains one pound throughout the holiday season. However, that one pound, if not lost, adds up to ten pounds in a decade. Not cool! So, I’ve created this list of tricks and tips to keep you fit through the holidays and beyond and safe from the creeping of extra pounds.
- Work out in the morning
Studies say that people who workout in the morning feel will tend not to splurge later in the day. They will be more careful about their food choices because they don’t want that workout to go to waste. Also, it is much easier to skip an evening workout than a morning one. People get tired, work deadlines get in the way, kids, family obligations, etc. can derail an evening workout. Get your exercise out of the way early on.
- Watch out for empty calories
There’s always that person in the office who loves to bake and bring in leftover cookies. Splurge on them only if you think you will really enjoy them, not just to make her feel better. Don’t graze on office treats all day long. Keep the treats away from your office or desk and have one designated time during the day when you choose to indulge, or not.
- Skip the escalators and elevators
Try and get extra steps into your day at all times. Take the stairs while holidays shopping. Park a little further than you usually do. Add a FitBit or some kind of fitness tracker to your holiday wish list so you can start tracking your steps.
- Wear tight-fitting clothes to the holiday party this year
When you are showing off that bod in your party dress or pants this year, you may be a little more conscious of trying not to stuff your stomach with party food. You will probably think twice about the cheese dip and head to the hummus and crudité instead.
- Find time to breathe
When stress levels are high for long periods of time, weight gain can be right around the corner. Remind yourself that the true meaning of the holidays has nothing to do with the mall and everything to do with enjoying your family and friends. You can’t do those things without your health, so make sure it’s a priority. Take down the stress levels by taking time for a quick breathing meditation. Here goes:
STEP 1: Close your eyes.
STEP 2: Focus on breathing with your belly. As you inhale, fill your belly (not chest) with air. As you exhale, let the stomach go.
STEP 3: Once you have the rhythm, inhale for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. Hold for a count of two.
STEP 4: Repeat as many times as you have time for or until you feel your body and mind relaxed.
- Sneak a quick workout into your daily routine
If you do happen to skip the gym or your workout from time to time, I created this 5 Minute Holiday Workout that you can sneak into your day at home or at work. Five minutes is obviously not a long workout but you can fit it in multiple times a day to add up to a 15 or 20 minute high intensity workout. Try it before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner or while watching TV in the evening. You don’t need any equipment and you can modify the exercises according to your fitness level.
Stay Safe During Your Workout and All Day Long
Maybe you live in a warm state and can run outside through the winter - or, maybe you'll just be running errands later. Either way, make sure you have pepper spray and a personal alarm on your keychain.