Avoiding Holiday Hijack
© Joan Price. May not be reprinted without permission.
Most people average 7 pounds of weight gain from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. Every New Year's Day, millions of people stare at the mirror and ask themselves with a groan, "What have I done?" This doesn't have to happen to you! Instead of sinking your shape-up program over the holidays, keep it afloat with these strategies.
- Stress Attack? Cardio Defense! Aerobic exercise will reduce stress, increase circulation, and release those feel-good endorphins. Your world will be brighter—and so will you. Get your heart rate up with brisk walking, bicycling, dancing, skating, stair climbing, hiking or playing your favorite sport.
- Reach for a Stroll, not a Roll! Instead of seconds of food, take minutes on foot! Leave your plate, go for a 10 to 20 minute walk. By the time you return, your appetite will be under control. Hint for restaurant eating: Park a 10-minute walk away. You'll arrive less eager to overeat, and you'll have to walk off part of your dessert to get back to your car.
- No Time to Exercise? Take Two! If you can't fit your usual selection of exercises into your day, don't beat yourself up. Just do two minutes here, two minutes there. You're just trying to maintain, not make great fitness progress.
- Move Before Eating. Physical activity right before eating will make you want to eat less—and the calories you eat will be burned faster.
- Vigorous Visitors. Don't let your best intentions die when you have guests from out of town. Show them the sights of your town—on foot. Walk them around your local park. Take them to your dance class or gym. Without being heavy-handed about it, try to incorporate physical activity into the things you do together.
- Give Gifts that Fit, not Fatten. Help a loved one get or stay in shape with a gift that suits an active lifestyle, not one that sabotages it. Forget the fruitcake and cookies—give a healthful gift: a motivating fitness book (like The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book!), exercise video, or heart-healthy recipe book; exercise accessories like a pedometer, weight gloves, walking shoes, or a bicycle rear-view mirror; a session with a personal trainer; a personal "gift certificate" for your company on a hike, bike ride or evening out dancing. Use your imagination!
- Get Back to Basics. As soon as the holidays are over, return immediate to your usual routine of physical activity. Don't let it go an extra day, which can turn into an extra week, an extra month, and so on. If you do get behind, though, don't use that as an excuse to abandon your program. Just start again.
Excerpted from The
Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book: 300 Quick and Easy Exercises You Can
Do Whenever You Want by Joan Price, available