The average person gains 5-10 pounds over the holidays, and I’m not going to lie… I’m one of them. I have already succumbed to the pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, the peppermint mochas and the wonderful cream-based soups found EVERYWHERE during the start of this chilly season. What gets me is that I am a very active person. I mean, VERY active. I am a licensed aerobics instructor in Spokane, teaching 11 classes a week. So why am I packing on the lbs? Simple math. I am consuming more calories than I am burning. Hard to believe since I teach one-to-two fitness classes a day.
But for the sake of this article, I’m going to bust out the ole’ common sense guide on how to handle those holiday calories, and see if I can practice what I preach, as well. Here are a few reminders for keeping the calories in check:
- Don’t Skip Meals. It’s tempting to skip meals to make up for whatever indulgent holiday food you’ll eat later. But just like the empty-stomach rule, if you’re starving, your rational mind will be unavailable for healthy food choices. Eat small meals all day to avoid going crazy at the holiday party.
- Eat Before You Go. I’ll repeat it: never hit a holiday party on an empty stomach. You’ll be less tempted to overindulge if your belly’s full of something healthy.
- Choose Just One Thing. When you get to the soiree, choose one thing to indulge in and make it good. Steer clear of the chips, crackers and cheese — you can have those any old time. Pick something you only get during the holidays.
- Control Your Drinking. Alcohol is an easy way to consume more calories than you need, so avoid mixed or fruity drinks, and have a glass of water for every drink you consume. Also, it goes without saying, avoid the egg nog (350+ calories per cup! You could eat an entire Lean Cuisine for those calories!).
- Up the Exercise. If you know you’re going to be going to a party, try to squeeze in an extra fitness class, an extra run, pop in your yoga DVD one more time during the week, etc. It’s all about debits and credits. You can’t expect the same results from a different equation.
However you deal with the holidays, make this the year that you don’t gain extra weight. Make a decision to do everything you can to stay active and eat healthy while not depriving yourself of all the fun. Like everything else in life, it’s all about moderation. Admittedly, “moderation” is the one concept in life that I truly haven’t mastered, but nonetheless . . . I’m not a quitter. I’ll keep trying.
Kate Armstrong is a Licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor (B1/B2/Toning/Aqua) in Spokane, WA. She teaches 11 classes a week and at ZMeDance -“The new wave of Zumba Fitness in Spokane!”. Her schedule can be found at http://www.ZMeDance.com.