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Battling the Holiday Bulge

Use these healthy strategies to avoid gaining weight and losing energy during the holiday season.

Our yearly month of excess is now underway. Holiday gatherings, inclement weather, travel and out of town guests, and even cold and flu season all combine to contribute to a few extra pounds around the midsection in January. The effects of our indulgences also show up on our faces as well as in our energy levels. While we all know moderation is key, it can be tough to actually implement in practice. Here are some helpful strategies to allow you to navigate the holidays in a healthy way and still have fun.

Evenings tend to be hectic during the holidays so you may find it easier to be consistent by switching your workouts to early mornings or during lunch. While you may initially find it tough to get up early and exercise, you'll start your day energized and refreshed and won't have to worry about conflicts.

Are you an outdoor exerciser? Better have a couple of indoor options available in case of inclement winter weather. Many fitness centers allow you to pay by the day or session. , LA Fitness, and all charge daily fees. The Oak Brook Park District has an indoor running track available for $4 per session.

Or try a class at one of the many private studios in Elmhurst. From yoga to rowing and boot camps, you'll find many quality workouts to keep you fit this winter.

Offers classes in various forms of yoga.

Offers classes in pilates and indoor rowing.

FitLife Training & Wellness - Offers boot camps and personal training.

 Offers classes and private instruction in pilates.

Offers mixed martial arts and boxing training, kickboxing, and more.

Why not add an extra session of cardio and strength training into your routine to accommodate the extra calories expected? You could also increase the duration of your sessions as well.

Accumulate exercise in little doses on busy days. A 20-minute interval on the treadmill in the morning, a 20-minute walk during lunch and 15 minutes on the treadmill after work still adds up to almost an hour of cardio.

Plan socializing and get togethers around exercise. Meet your friends at a yoga class and then hit brunch. Take a long hike with your husband and have dinner out afterwards.

Consider eating more vegetarian meals during the holiday and winter season.  You'll save on calories and strengthen your immune system with all the extra vegetables. 

Limit the amount of holiday treats that you have at home. Instead, make a pact to only indulge when at parties. Bring healthy snacks to the office to help avoid all the goodies that accumulate during the season. Avoid the snack room at work or wherever holiday treats are displayed. Out of sight, out of mind!

Keep a food log during the holiday season so you can really get a handle on what you're consuming. Be completely thorough and honest when charting the amount of each food and drink item consumed.

Mix wine with spritzer at parties to cut down on calories; or stick with vodka or gin with soda water for a 100 calorie treat.

Remember, it's just one meal! Enjoy the holiday feast with some restraint; stop indulging and get back on track the very next day!

Susan Smentek November 26, 2011 at 03:22 AM
HI Tina, can you recommend a calculator that will show the number of calories needed to lose 1-2 pounds per week?

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