Plan now to keep off those holiday pounds

Paula Reece

It’s estimated the average American gains between 5 pounds and 9 pounds of weight between Halloween and the new year.

It’s not an easy time to keep pounds off. Why? People eat more and exercise less, which results in weight gain. It’s as simple as that.

It all starts with Halloween. You stockpile bags of candy for the one evening when a few trick-or-treaters might come to your door. The day after, there’s leftover candy. And the kids have a sugar source that will fuel unhealthy eating habits into the holidays. Then, people put off losing weight until they start making their New Year’s resolutions.

So why is it so hard to stay committed to your healthy eating and exercise plan? The holidays are known for socializing — parties and events centered on food. Many of these food choices are high in calories.

Another reason is a trap we all fall into, and that’s our busy schedules. We’re busy nearly all the time.
But during the holidays, add in kids’ events, Christmas cards, decorating, shopping and traveling. The list goes on. The stress of the holiday season can leave you exhausted.

What’s the best way to survive the holiday season and avoid putting on those extra pounds? Make a plan.

Here are a few tips to help:

Take out a calendar early — like now. Mark off time for exercise each day. Schedule a little exercise between things on busy days — 10 minutes is better than nothing. Keep your goals in mind throughout the holiday season. The time you allow for yourself for exercise, nutrition, organizaton and sleep will make the busyness of the season more manageable.

Eat right. Buy healthy snacks. Plan for parties and other activities that involve food. Eat some healthy and filling foods before you go. Attending an event hungry sets you up for failure.

Exercise during the mornings of the holidays to burn off some of those extra treats you’ll eat later in the day. Thanksgiving offers an opportunity to get in some exercise early in the day before the feast.

 Don’t fall into the trap of “I’ll start after the new year.” This is really saying you’ll find an excuse no matter the time of the year. There will always be birthdays and special events — think about Super Bowl parties and Valentine’s Day.

Remember: Celebrations are really about family and friends, not food.

Lifestyle changes in nutrition and exercise, even during the busy holiday season, provide long-lasting results. It’s about making healthy, productive changes that work for you over the long term. It’s about your health forever.