So how can you keep your body happy and healthy without missing the fun that summer celebrations bring? Read on for nine tips on how to enjoy parties while still keeping your health in mind.
1. Eat before you go.
Heading out to a graduation soiree where you know there will be killer desserts? Try eating a light, healthy meal before you go. You won’t be hungry for the main event like fatty fried chicken and instead will have room for that slice of cake. Even the smallest snack can help when it comes to having control over the buffet table. Just remember, no matter what you do, don’t go to a party starving. You’re likely to enter a “see-all-eat-all” mentality and go overboard.
2. Bring a healthy dish to pass.
By bringing a dish to pass, you’ll at least know there will be one healthy option to eat. Serve yourself a portion of your healthy contribution and supplement it with smaller portions of a few more indulgent items. Not only can you keep your diet in check, but you’ll also enable others to enjoy a lighter option.
3. Taste test.
The first time you visit the food spread, take a little bit of everything you want to try. Give it all a taste and decide on your favorites. Then go back and dish up what you know you will truly enjoy. This will prevent you from eating foods that are just so-so to your taste buds but are also high in calories and fat.
4. Distract yourself.
After trip one to the dessert table, walk away. Don’t stand or sit near it, as this can increase the temptation to make a return trip. Instead, offer to help the host out with dishes, take a break from the party to walk around the park or venture to the backyard to check out what else might be going on.
5. Be active.
After eating, don’t just sit around. Instead, get up and join in that slow-pitch softball game, round of cornhole or sand volleyball match. You might even burn enough calories to warrant an extra piece of cake!
6. Be mindful of your beverages.
Sure, nothing says it’s a party like a cold Spotted Cow or a fruity margarita. And by “a,” I mean one. Calories from beverages — whether it be from beer, mixed drinks, lemonade, punch or soda — can add up fast. Guzzle down two cans of Coke and you’ve just consumed 280 calories and nearly 80 grams of sugars. That’s about 20 teaspoons! Bottom line: it’s just as important to choose your beverages carefully as it is to choose your eats. Stick to one beverage of choice and then switch to water, diet soda or unsweetened tea.
7. Pack along a piece of gum.
After you’ve finished your first plate, whip out this little lifesaver. Choose a minty flavor to curb any cravings for another piece of chocolate cheesecake and to help take your mind off of food.
8. Balance your plate.
Just as you would for a typical dinner around the table at home, try to balance your plate. Load at least half of it with fruits and veggies, a quarter with lean protein, and the other quarter with grains. (Whole grains are best!)
9. Use a dessert plate.
Swing by the dessert table first before hitting up the food, but only to snatch a smaller, dessert-sized plate. Ditching an oversized dinner plate in favor of a smaller plate aids in portion control and will prevent you from overindulging right off the bat.
Now, I’d have to admit that part of the “party” is definitely the food, and that it’s perfectly okay to indulge every once in a while. But for all those other times, stick to these nine tips and you’ll be on your way to celebrating not only the occasion but also your commitment to a healthier lifestyle!
Exercise machines help you burn calories, build muscle and improve your endurance. Certain machines deliver a more intense cardiovascular workout than others, meaning you burn calories at a faster rate. The way you use cardiovascular exercise equipment also affects how efficiently you burn fat. Use the machines’ settings and additional tools to maximize your workout’s aerobic and strengthening benefits.
Burn Calories on a Treadmill
Of all the equipment in your gym or club, the cardiovascular exercise machines deliver the workout that burns the most calories. Running on a treadmill burns more calories than any other machine-centered workout. Before you begin, check the settings and select an intense pace to burn more calories. If you weigh between 125 and 185 pounds and jog at 5 mph for one hour, you burn between 480 and 710 or more calories, depending upon your fitness level and weight. Pick up your pace to 7.5 mph and you burn between 750 and 1,110 calories, which means you can lose up to 2.5 pounds per week running six of the days. Rather than running faster, you can also intensify the workout and burn extra calories by setting the treadmill at an incline, so you’re running “uphill.”
Use an Elliptical Trainer
An elliptical trainer can offer you an excellent aerobic workout. However, because you power the pace of an elliptical trainer, it is easy to slip into coasting when you get tired. To maximize its calorie-burning benefits, work out at high speed and use a machine that has movable handles so you work your arms as well. An added benefit of exercising on an elliptical trainer is that your feet never leave the pedals, making it a low-impact aerobic workout. An hour on the elliptical can burn 540 to 800 calories or more. You can also adjust the resistance and incline on an elliptical trainer to burn extra calories.
Other Cardiovascular Exercise Machines
Other machines that make you raise your heart rate also burn calories efficiently. For example, climbing a stair treadmill burns between 360 and 532 calories in one hour. The workout is lower-impact, so it will not stress your joints, muscles and tendons as much as running high speed on a treadmill. Stair-climbing also provides a strengthening workout for your gluteal, thigh and calf muscles. However, avoid leaning on or holding onto the machine; it reduces the number of calories burned. Using a stationary rowing machines provides a total body-strengthening and aerobic workout, burning between 310 and 754 calories in one hour. Doing indoor cycling at a vigorous rate burns 630 and 932 calories per hour.
Interval Training on Exercise Machines
Most exercise machines feature settings that allow you to make the workout more intense, thus burning more calories. If your machine has an interval setting, using it will dramatically boost your calories burned. This setting varies your pace, usually starting with a warm-up, moving to a vigorous pace then adding in some sprints. The sprints boost your heart rate higher and keep it there, even when you slow down to a recovery pace. You can program your own intervals on an exercise machine by increasing the pace or changing the incline every few minutes and sustaining the sprint or climb for at least 30 seconds. Consult your doctor before beginning interval training or any other new exercise regimen.
I know I’m not the only one who struggles to walk past the free break room donuts. When I was younger I would joke about how a “food coma,” the dreaded side effect of overeating, was my favorite part of social events. Now, I actively avoid it because learning my limits was key for getting me into my favorite skinny jeans again.
Since overeating is a concept that most of us understand and experienced first-hand, I wanted to break down what actually happens in your body when you do overeat. After all, your body is well-equipped to let you know you’re getting fuller — you just need to listen!
Note: While the digestion process can take on average of 50+ hours, for this article, we are going to stick with the earlier parts of the process.
Over 40% of women say that the reason they aren’t as fit and healthy as they would like is because of a lack of motivation. Another 40% say it’s because of laziness. So, how do you beat both laziness and a lack of motivation? You keep on reading, that’s how!
Here are 5 ways to get motivated and push your laziness aside – sure to get all 80% of you fit and healthy, fast!
Ask yourself why you want to get fit. Having a clear reason for working out and getting healthy – one that matters to you! – is the best way to get motivated and stay that way. So, figure out your reason (it will be different for everyone!). Maybe you want to be healthy to live a long life for your children or perhaps you want to be able to climb the stairs without getting winded at work. So, spend time figuring out why you want to get fit and remind yourself of your reason regularly. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you or set your computer background with an image that will keep you focused. If you can keep the reason you want to be fit in the forefront of your mind, you will stay motivated to get to the gym without even thinking about it!
Have fun. Finding a workout you enjoy is one of the easiest ways to ensure you stay motivated (and not bored!). It’s hard to stay motivated to do something you hate, but, if you can find an exercise you love, it will be easy! Not into running in circles around a track or elliptical training? Think outside the box! Plan a dance party with friends, take in intenSati class or make a deal with yourself that you can only watch your favorite TV show while moving!
Set realistic goals. It’s easy to lose motivation when your goals are so lofty that you feel defeated before you’ve even begun. So, let’s change that! Instead of deciding to workout every day if you haven’t been to the gym in 6 months, aim to workout just 1 day each week at first. One easy way to ensure your workout goals are manageable is to try to increase your fitness by just 10% each week by either adding 10% more time to your workouts, 10% more weight while strength training or 10% more repetitions every 7 days.
Reward yourself. Each of us are motivated by different things – for some of us, working towards a new pair of shoeswill do the trick while others may be more motivated by the dream of a vacation. Give yourself a point for each goal you achieve (maybe you keep track of the number of miles you run or the number of dance classes you attend) and, when you hit a certain number of points, splurge on something that makes you happy! Need more constant reinforcement? Set smaller goals and reward yourself more often with smaller, more manageable rewards (like a dinner out!).
Reevaluate often. If you’re starting to feel lazy, be honest with yourself (without passing judgment) and start from scratch. Reevaluate why you want to get fit and redefine your answer. Find a new workout to try, alter your goals or change your reward system.
The holidays can be a bittersweet time of year. On the one hand, you’ve got twinkle lights, hot chocolate, and holiday cheer galore. On the other, you’re surrounded by not-so-subtle reminders of what’s missing in your life—particularly, if you’re separated, divorced, or widowed. And even if you’re content with being single the rest of the year, the idea of not having a significant other to swap gifts with can be enough to make you question your life choices. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
“Single people shouldn’t look to simply survive the holidays, but rather, use the reflective time of the season to thrive,” says Paul Hokemeyer, PhD, a Manhattan-based marriage and family therapist (check out these 7 awesome benefits of being single) . “To do this, they must gently shift their view of the holidays from an externally defined time of year to an internally defined one.”
At their most basic level, he explains, Christmas represents a period of rebirth and Hanukkah a time to regain control of one’s life. By digging deep, you’ll anchor yourself in something solid and real, and in turn, connect to the essence of the season. Here’s how to get started. (Let’s stay in touch! Sign up to get FREE health, weight loss, and relationship tips delivered straight to your inbox!)
Fess up about how you feel.
When the people around you are all merry and bright and you’re, well, not, sucking it up because you’re not “supposed” to feel bad during the holidays just leads to more crappy feelings. “Acknowledging your emotions gives you the opportunity to let them go,” says Vivian Sierra, a licensed marriage and family therapist in St. Louis. By suppressing them, you’re basically allowing your life to get stuck in neutral. “Being authentic is the gateway to future healthy relationships—and ultimately, love,” she says. Translation: Take the time to put your feet up and get your bah humbug on. (These 8 tricks will beat a rotten mood in 60 seconds flat.)
Get out there, even if you don’t feel like it.
It’s natural to assume that the link between behavior and mood only goes in one direction. (Think: “I feel depressed and therefore skipped the Christmas party.”) However, it’s a 2-way street more often than we realize—you may feel depressed precisely because you’re dodging holiday invites, and in turn, not coming into contact with more positive stimuli. “Increasing pleasant and meaningful activities have been shown to have broad support for individuals who have problems with mood,” says Jason Holland, PhD, geropsychologist and assistant professor at William James College in Boston. So force yourself to put at least one party on your calendar this month. You might be surprised by how much fun you have. (And if not? Well, it’s just one party.)
Develop a plan for dealing with potential holiday triggers.
For someone who’s adjusting to post-divorce singledom or widowhood, the holidays can bring back painful memories and exacerbate feelings of loneliness, says Holland. Stay ahead of the curve by clearly defining the people, places, or things that may trigger negative thoughts or emotions during the holiday season, he suggests, then come up with a game plan for how to best manage these situations before they crop up. Example: If your late husband’s sister is a drama queen and visits always leave you feeling on edge, come up with a reason ahead of time for why you can only stay at her place for an hour. Maybe that reason is meeting up with a friend who always puts you in a good mood.
Shake up your holiday routine.
“Switching things up gives your brain a workout by encouraging new associations versus the old neural pathways,” explains Nancy Irwin, PsyD, a Los Angeles-based therapist. If you and your ex-husband had a specific holiday itinerary that you followed every year, interrupting your old patterns can help lessen the blow—even little things like preparing different foods, shopping at different stores, or watching different movies can help you miss that person less.
Planning ahead is always the best way to ward off a case of the lonelies, especially during the holidays. Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances in advance and casually ask what their plans are. Once you share that you don’t have any plans, they’re likely to invite you to join them. “It’s important to remember that when we’re lonely, we tend to underestimate how much those around us care about us and would be happy to spend the holidays together,” says A.J. Marsden, PhD, assistant professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College in Florida. If this strategy is too awkward, who says you can’t do the inviting? Plan a shindig specifically for people who don’t have plans. (Feeling lonely is as unhealthy as smoking 15 cigarettes a day—but here’s how to fight it.)
Get back to your roots.
Think back to a time when the holidays gave you the warm and fuzzies—what were the rituals or traditions that you loved most? Bringing them back into your present can help you regain that spark. “Rituals induce calm and relieve stress by projecting a sense of order and control into the unpredictability of life,” says Sierra. “They provide a sense of continuity and belonging that significantly contribute to mental health.”
Reach out to long lost friends and relatives.
Just because you’re unable to spend time with certain family members or friends during the holidays doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them in other ways. “Reaching out to your social connections is good for your mental and emotional health,” says Sierra. It boosts your sense of belonging, while also strengthening your social network. All it takes is a festive text message, a funny Facebook post, or an old-school Christmas card to let someone know you care, which boosts their overall wellness too. It’s a win-win. (Just make sure you’re not breaking one of these 14 Facebook etiquette rules that will get you unfriended fast.)
Do some good.
It can be frightening to see the dark places your mind can wander to when given the opportunity. “Too much time on one’s hands can be dangerous,” says Hokemeyer. “Get out of the house and into the service of others.” Finding community service opportunities is easy, and not only will providing service boost your mood and morale, but it may also foster connections with new people.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself.
Try not to force yourself to have a certain type of holiday experience this year, or for “things to ‘be a certain way,'” says Marsden. Keep it simple, and remember that “spending the holidays alone can be a very enjoyable experience if you make time for yourself,” she says.
One place to start: Getting some fresh air. Recent research has shown that exercise can help ease depression, especially during the holidays, notes Marsden. Plus, “exercise releases endorphins that make us feel good and spending time outdoors can help increase vitamin D, which also helps ease depression.”
By Krissy Brady
Did this headline strike a nerve?
If so, you are not alone. I’ve been there. Confession: I’m actually close to there now as I managed to put on a few pounds this fall — and it hasn’t all been muscle. This time of year is especially tough for hitting weight-loss goals (read: holiday parties, hot chocolate, sweet potato pie and love handle-hiding puffy coats). Studies have shown Americans gain the most weight between Halloween and New Year’s adding about 0.7% to their frame on average.
For an average man weighing 195.7 pounds, that equates to 1.4 pounds (which is actually lower than I expected). So if you’re already above your goal weight, be realistic with yourself: Instead of focusing on trying to lose weight during the holidays, focus on not gaining additional weight. If you wind up dropping a few pounds with this mindset, great! Consider it icing on the cake.
When it comes to weight loss, maintenance is a victory in itself as it can sometimes be harder than losing in the first place. Here are some tried-and-true weight-maintenance tips I use during the holiday season:
1. ACKNOWLEDGE WHAT CAUSED YOU TO GAIN THE WEIGHT
Knowledge is power and the best way to prevent repeating past mistakes is to reflect on where you may have gone offtrack. Did you fail to prioritize your workouts? Did you start eating dinner later? Have you been snacking more than usual? Did you stop logging your food?
The key here is not to beat yourself up but use this reflection as an opportunity to make better decisions going forward.
READ MORE > WHAT THE FAFH? 5 KEYS TO EATING ON THE ROAD
2. MAKE YOUR HOME AND WORK A SAFE SPACE
In most cases, you’re in control of the food in your home, so get rid of potential landmines in the kitchen! My former trainer, Errick, always says, “If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.”
So, if you know you have a propensity to snack on candy at night, keep it out of your kitchen. If you find yourself constantly raiding a coworker’s junk food jar (which was totally me at my last job!), then start bringing in healthy snacks to keep at your desk or in the communal snack area. I️ started bringing in clementines, Trader Joe’s Omega Trek Mix and dried seaweed. Bonus: Healthy habits are contagious, so your coworkers will probably appreciate it, too! Plus, if you have healthy food at home you can start meal prepping and bringing lunch to work or school, making it much easier to log your meals and stay on track.
3. GET MOVING (EVERY LITTLE BIT COUNTS)
It’s sounds super basic, but whenever you have the opportunity to add activity to your day, take it. Take the stairs, set up a walking meeting, go to the coffee shop that’s a couple blocks further and walk around the building (in the hallways or hit the streets) instead of spending 10 minutes on Instagram or Facebook at your desk. Schedule workouts on your calendar so they don’t fall by the wayside. The holidays are NOT the time to stop exercising altogether.
Next time you are watching “This Is Us” (Beth and Randall are #CoupleGoals) or any TV show, do some pushups or crunches. The workout will go by faster because you’ll be distracted and it will also prevent you from wanting to snack.
5. GO INTO HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES WITH A GAME PLAN
Be proactive in prepping for holiday festivities by scheduling a morning workout, hydrating throughout the day and eating filling, high-fiber foods during the day so you don’t do a face-dive into the holiday spread when you arrive.
Something I always do is grab a healthy snack before I head to a party. (Did you know a single apple has 5 grams of fiber?) I’ve even been known to Uber to a party while eating an apple in the backseat because I knew there’d be temptations like pizza and chocolate cake. Being proactive with a game plan can help keep you in control.
And remember, the holidays should be fun! They often come with travel, food and family, so don’t forget to enjoy this time … but they can be a tough time to focus on losing weight, so if you find yourself starting at a disadvantage, shift your focus to maintenance mode, which sets you up for less frustration and more success.
How do you stay on track (or get back on track) during the holiday season?
A time to be with loved ones, eat family favorite dishes and express our gratitude. I am talking about Thanksgiving. Along with all the wonderful things this holiday brings, it unfortunately can come with stress, unwanted pounds and feeling run down and sluggish. Add travel on top of that for some more added challenges, right? However, if you are smart, you can stay on track to win. I’m going to share some very easy and smart tips so you have no worries this Thanksgiving.
In no particular order, here are my best tips to still indulge, still have a wonderful time and still feel amazing throughout it all! We are going to watch out for the “B, L, T’s” (bites, licks, and tastes), stay active (Turkey Trot is a great idea!) and try to slow down.
With the proper hydration, proper sleep and staying mindful, you just can’t go wrong. It’s as EASY AS PUMPKIN PIE! Remember, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Let’s get started.
Drink More Water
No surprise there. You’ve heard it before and you will hear it again, but it is one of the best and easiest things you can do. Start your day off by polishing off two huge glasses of water, especially during a holiday like Thanksgiving. Your goal is to drink half your body weight in ounces. Example: if you weigh 150 lbs drink 75 ozs. It may sound a bit much but it is necessary. Trust me. Remember, you can flavor your water, if that helps.
Much of the time during the holidays people think by saving all their calories for the “big” meal is a fantastic idea. Sorry to tell you but it is not a good idea at all. It will just make you moody; you will over eat and in return, feel awful. It is never a good idea to not NOT eat. This will only backfire and make you feel more physically and mentally not so great and we do not want that.
- Instead, start your day with a superstar breakfast. Great examples include; oatmeal, eggs, high-fiber cereal, smoothies, or the best choice–a green drink, are all great choices.
- Again, most people try to save calories during the holidays but instead I recommend packing a snack and having something to eat before the big feast.
- Also, bring your own dish if you really want to have this nailed. Nothing wrong with bringing in a veggie tray with hummus or fruit. This will help you not be so tempted to over indulge and keep your energy up.
Lighten up Dishes and Experiment with Recipe Modification
What this means is instead of comfort food all around the table, try a few new things. For example, try cauliflower mashed potatoes. You can make the traditional version, but try this too. You may be shocked at how much you like it. I make both every year but many guests request the cauliflower mashers! Remember, if you put it out, people will eat it.
- Bring out the veggies and make sure you have a few healthier options with less fat, less sugar and less calories.
- Great substitutions are to use applesauce or pumpkin instead of oil in muffins, cookies, or breads.
- In place of sugar, try a sugar substitute or fruit purées.
- Try Greek yogurt in replace of heavy sour cream or cream cheese for savory dishes.
- Don’t forget to load up on the veggies and go for nutritional dense food like turkey, sweet potatoes, fresh cranberries, chest nuts and green beans. At least there is still some nutrients in these. (Hopefully, they were not over cooked or drowning in butter!)
This is a great time to eat mindfully, not only during the holidays like Thanksgiving, but for every day. This is a huge tip if you want to lose pounds! We are all on the go, especially during Thanksgiving (travel, shopping, entertaining, etc.) but we need to slow down. This helps you to savor your meals.
- A food journal would be a great tool right about now to help you monitor your meals.
- Try to not hurry, try to watch your portions and try to skip seconds and you may just realize you don’t need them after all. This would be, in thanks, to that healthy breakfast and snack you chose in between. See how this works? This way you can still indulge without packing on all the pounds. Just be smart.
- Remember to eat until you are SATISFIED, NOT STUFFED!
Try to Not Socialize by the Appetizer Table
Such a simple tip. Think about it. Ever been stuck with the awkwardness (we all have that one relative, right!) and then you look down a beautiful tray of fresh baked cookies or fried appetizers that are calling your name in hopes they will save you! Even if you are having a great time with all the food, you will eat mindlessly if you stay by the appetizer table. This takes you out of the present moment.
- I say, grab some items on a small plate and walk away.
- I also love to put a spoon in bowls of food like nuts, so people know how much they are putting in their hand. A simple tip with a great result and no one will notice. Plus, it’s more sanitary! Nuts are so great for you but not in HANDFULS!
Not a food tip, but you knew it was coming because I am a trainer! Exercise is usually put off this time of year but I encourage you to not avoid exercise this year. In a dream world you would start the day off hitting the gym or do a Turkey Trot as I mentioned earlier. That can too much to ask though. So instead, I encourage you to be the motivator and keep the family active.
- The best tip is to MOVE after the big meal.
- This is a perfect time for the family to take a walk and have quality time together.
- Record the game and put everything on pause. A walk, bike ride, hike, or taking the dog for a walk are all great activities. Plus, the kids will need to burn off some energy so have fun with them.
- Play Frisbee, have plank or push up competitions and see who can do the most jumping jacks or burpee’s while you are at it. This will make you feel better and keep you healthy. Then when it’s time for pie, you won’t feel sluggish and you can still indulge!
So, that’s it! Try your best to focus on the holiday meal with friends and family. Be grateful for all you have and give thanks for all your blessings. We are all so fortunate to have this amazing food along with our health that ties us together. Give thanks and celebrate! Try to maintain your weight and not lose it. We all need a day of celebration that only comes once a year. Follow these tips you can have your “pumpkin pie and eat it too.”
Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours. When you coming over?
EAT WELL. STAY FIT. FEEL GREAT
Source: by Monica Nelson