Whether you’ve achieved that magnificent physique on your own or you enlisted the support of a personal trainer along the way, staying physically fit after the Thanksgiving holiday is quite a unique experience from the rest of the year.
With the Christmas and New Year holidays just around the corner, you can always count on caloric temptation ratcheting up to its highest levels of the year. 'Tis the season to indulge in those tasty, once-a-year favs but we need to be prudent about finding ways to enjoy those holiday treats without completely undermining all the effort that went into chiseling that beach body you’ve been working so hard on. The holiday season can undoubtedly be the trickiest time of the year for those of us who want to remain in tip-top physical condition. All those travel plans and holiday get-togethers doing very little to contribute to the foundation we need to build for sustainable dieting and fitness success.
Fortunately, we’ve talked to a few fitness professionals around London who’ve shared a few of their most coveted secrets for making sure we don’t blow up a year’s worth of fitness efforts over the course of one holiday season.
Here’s what you need to know:
Here’s a great way to maintain your physique while also taking in the holiday lights - bundle up and take a stroll through your community a few evenings a week to help celebrate the season. It’s a great way to burn off extra calories and it’s a great opportunity to take in all the decorations splashed about London (the Canary Wharf area is especially well done in holiday lights). There’s a bit more to this than you’re probably thinking: When we go out in the frigid air, our bodies react by shifting into a higher gear to burn the necessary calories required to sustain our core temperature. In fact, we’ve found research to suggest that winter walks are the best calories burners.
Control your Portion Sizes
We get it. When most of us think of holiday dining, the last thing we’re thinking about is portion control. When our favorite hors d'oeuvres are spread out so beautifully before us at those holiday get-togethers with the in-laws, it can be difficult to keep from going back for seconds. That’s a big reason why U.S. adults are expected to gain an average of 5 – 7 extra pounds during the holidays.
However, monitoring the size of your helpings is very important if you want to maintain your physique. Think “discipline” and make a deliberate effort to avoid overeating – get your fill but not to the point where you’re belly-up on the couch by dessert time. A secret that personal trainers pass along to their clients is to remember to chew slowly and only take half of what you would ordinarily load your plate with.
Make a Deliberate Effort to Move After Every Meal
Here’s another challenging element of the holiday season for those trying to maintain their physique – all those holiday events we attend are often centered around food. Corporate holiday parties are back, social gatherings are calling, and there’s always the formal family get together looming. That equates to several eating opportunities that you need to be wary of.
One strategy for dealing with this overabundance of food is to make sure to move after every meal. It may not be practical in every situation but try and get out for some fresh air after eating so much. Or make a subtle attempt to walk up and down the stairs a few times. By sneaking in a quick walk, it will give you a momentary respite from the family drama and it’s also good for your digestive system.
Here’s the real bonus: a 15-minute walk after dinner can do wonders to regulate your blood sugar which will suppress those cravings for sweets…of which there will be plenty of, btw.
Drink More Water
If you think this is a tired expression, consider for a moment that more than 7 out of 10 Americans are chronically dehydrated. That number certainly doesn’t improve around the holidays with all the sodium-rich foods like mashed potatoes and glazed ham being consumed. The fact is that our efforts to maintain our physique around the Christmas and New Year holidays can be augmented significantly when we remember to drink more water. In fact, if we drink a full glass of water after we get a full eight hours of sleep, it can do wonders to spark our body’s metabolic process in the morning!
In terms of how much water you should be drinking every day, the amount varies, but one reliable resource suggested 64 ounces a day (8 cups) for adults. This holiday season, choose water instead of carbonated or calorie-rich alcoholic beverages that will only add gas to your system and make you feel bloated and uncomfortable.
Head for the Veggies!
You don’t often find a lot of organic veggies at holiday parties. However, this can work to your advantage when you’re asked to bring along a dish of your choice to your next holiday party. By focusing on freshly cut vegetables instead of the calorie-rich, deep-fried foods we give our digestive systems an assist and it can help combat our inclination to overeat.
Start Working with a Professional
Dieting and fitness are lifelong pursuits. If you “blow it” this season, don’t wallow in guilt. Get right back into your fitness routine and recalibrate your focus on your goals rather than that extra slice of cheesecake you had the night before.
For those who are ready, fitness professionals and personal trainers are becoming increasingly more popular every year. Fitness professionals have the expertise to help you avoid common pitfalls in your fitness pursuits and they’ve become a surprisingly affordable option for many people. If you want help maintaining your physique during the Christmas season, typing in “pt near me” can yield some remarkably effective options.