Fight the Weight of the Holidays

It’s an equally joyous and stressful time of year. The holidays come with generous gifts, family arguments, and plenty of food. They encourage us to put our feet up and snuggle up, instead of pumping things up at the gym.

So, what can you do to fight holiday weight? The average person will gain 7 to 10 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. The combination of lower activity levels and higher calorie foods (and more portions of them) can equal a fitness disaster for so many. After a year, or even just a couple of weeks, of killing your fitness routine and working hard, this season can derail everything you’ve worked for.

Here’s our top tips for staying on track:

1.  Drink plenty of water.

Eggnog? Eggnot. This festive time comes with lots of libations. Instead of doubling down on cocktails, take time to hydrate all day, every day. Water keeps all of your cells functioning, and helps to expel fat from your body through its normal waste. Curious how much water you need daily? Start by knowing your body weight in pounds. Divide the number in half. The result is the amount of water you should take in in ounces. For instance, a 150lb person needs 75oz of water. Love to toast to the holiday spirit? We totally get it — try to have one glass of water following every cocktail.

2. Take a post-meal stroll.

In some European cultures, dinner is always followed by a quick stroll with friends and family around the block. Take time to reflect on your own, or share gratitude with your nearest and dearest after you enjoy your holiday meals. It will help you digest and to get closer to your step goal for the day. Try a pedometer app on your phone, or track the walk on your smartwatch or fitness tracker.

3. Invest in winter athletic gear.

Cold temps can make anyone’s initiative and drive take a hike. Make a point to invest in some winter athletic gear like earwarmers, a sweatshirt or gloves. This ensures that you have no excuse when you wake up to find chilly air outside your door. Head out for a walk or run around the neighborhood and stay toasty.

4. Stick to your fitness routine — even when it’s dark outside.

One of the hardest things about the winter time is that it gets dark early and stays dark later in the morning. Getting in your workout before or after work when the skies are already completely black can feel impossible. It feels so late or too early to be sweating and pushing your body. Do your best to set alarms and avoid plans that disrupt your regular workout routine. The longer you’re able to keep up a good habit, the more likely you are to follow through.

5. Use a workout to relieve stress.

Is the idea of talking to Crazy Uncle Joe or making small talk with your distant cousins around the holiday table already making you sweat? Getting the family together is exciting, but can also be so stressful. With differing points of view, ages, and other traits, this time of year can be the source of bickering, arguing and annoyance. Make your workout your escape from funky family situations. Use it as an excuse to get out of the house and take out your frustrations by building strength. “Sorry, grandpa, I’d love to talk about the election, but I really need to leave for bootcamp!” Ahhhh, aren’t you relaxed already thinking about it?

Want more tips and tricks from NSF? Sign up to get email updates or contact us today for your fitness consultation. Did we mention it’s FREE? Get on track for the holidays and for life.

Published by Jeremy R. Pittman

Jeremy is the founder and Chief Volunteer of the Never Settle Foundation. My dad was Pastor Don Pittman. He coined the phrase "never settle" on Easter Sunday in 2006. That message ultimately inspired him to found this non-profit foundation in 2011.

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