Ho, Ho, Hold up! Avoid holiday weight gain this season with 9 simple tips

CINCINNATI - It’s here: the holiday season. When pants feel a little more snug around the waist. When food comas happen. When you wake up to the cold reality of “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!” When you whisper to yourself, as your head hits the pillow each night, “Diet starts tomorrow.”

Our #9Fitness initiative is committed to keeping you fit throughout the holidays, despite the mounds of glorious holiday treats and piping hot home-cooked meals that grace your tabletop from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. We’re sharing 9 ways you can stay fit and fabulous, and emerge from the holiday season without packing on the pounds.

  1. Take the pledge! It’s easy for runners to fall off the wagon this time of the year. It’s cold, there are few races for which runners are intensely training, and after a long day of shopping (or eating), it’s easy to just call it a “cheat day.” However, committed fitness aficionados are taking the pledge to run a mile a day, every day from Thanksgiving until the new year.
  2. Drink up! Drinking a glass of water BEFORE you sit down at the dinner table and loosen up the belt is a good way to prevent yourself from overeating, one of the main culprits in holiday weight gain. Drinking water throughout the day is another way to stay full and prevent overeating.
  3. Eat smart! A new study found that exercise alone may not stave off holiday weight – think about it, you’d have to work out REALLY hard to burn off the high-caloric drinks and foods you’re taking in this season. By making smarter selections, you’re making calorie-burning efforts more effective.
  4. Cut it out! That second slice of pecan pie looks oh-so-appetizing, but if you’re going to focus on fitness this season, seconds are your enemy. Experts say portion control is the key to avoiding holiday weight gain, so appropriately fill your plate once and eat slowly.
  5. Don’t eat hungry! It may be tempting to skip lunch to “make room” for that big holiday dinner tonight, but this is one of the behaviors that is most conducive to weight gain. Why? Because you’re more likely to overeat if you’re famished. Have a snack before you head out, and don’t – we repeat, DON’T – skip your meals.
  6. Pace yourself! Speed eating doesn’t give your body enough time to realize it’s full. Slowing down the pace helps your body adjust properly, prompting you to stop eating when you’re ACTUALLY fully.
  7. Buddy up! Eating right and resisting temptation around the holidays is so much easier if you don’t have to go at it alone. Find a friend with similar goals and help keep each other on track. You don’t have to smack that last cookie out of his or her hands, but a friendly reminder or a knowing glance can help keep everyone on track.
  8. Get out of here! Ever sat in the kitchen and munched on treats just because they were there? I’ve been there too. Get out of the house, move around, busy yourself – anything to avoid plopping down on the couch with the caramel corn bucket in your lap. When you’re busy and active, you’ll mindlessly snack less.
  9. Stretch-less! This doesn’t mean avoid warming up before your workout, don’t worry. But wearing that loose dress or pair of stretchy pants won’t make you realize when you’ve filled your stomach. Fitted pants are a great indicator of how much you’ve eaten. When the waist feels snug, it’s time to step away.
  10. BONUS: Two words: goal dress. Before the holidays, I bought my New Year’s Eve dress. And it’s not forgiving. So I have two options: make healthy, smart choices when it comes to food and fitness this holiday season, or not wear my dress. Spoiler alert: I’m wearing that dress. Having a special outfit you’re committed to looking and feeling great in can be a fantastic motivator this holiday season.

Do you have any other tips to combat the holiday pounds? Share ‘em with me on Twitter, @jennyfromthebak . Happy (and healthy!) Holidays!

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