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Avoid the Weight Gain: Reasons To Work Out During The Holidays

As things cool down and the pumpkin spice lattes start coming out, it can be tempting to let your workout routine slide. Problem is, once you begin to justify missing one or two workouts, it is far easier to just not exercise during the holiday season.

To make sure that you stick to your workout routine, you need to stay motivated. Here are six reasons to work out during the holidays.

Stave Off Holiday Bloat And Weight Gain

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Weight gain during the holidays is a constant boogeyman, and people usually bring it up just as you are about to enjoy a delicious holiday treat. But in reality, research has shown that the average holiday weight gain is only 0.81 lbs (0.37 kg). That’s not exactly an earth-shaking amount of weight gain. But, if the trend of slowly gaining weight isn’t halted, it can quickly get out of control.

By sticking to your workout routine over the holidays, you can easily keep off even the slightest weight gain by the holidays. That way, you won’t be battling an extra 10-15 lbs once spring returns.

Now, holiday bloating is a real issue and one that is far more likely to cause you problems during the holidays. Since it is common to indulge in high-fat foods, more carbs, and other bloat-causing foods during the holidays, it wouldn’t take much to make your clothes fit uncomfortably.

But, by exercising regularly, you can encourage your body to process the excessive indulgence and not punish you so harshly for enjoying yourself.

Workouts Remind You To Hydrate Properly

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During the holidays, it can be easy to forget that while you have been drinking plenty of things—from seasonal lattes to alcohol at holiday parties—you may not have been drinking as much water as you usually do.

This lack of water can leave you feeling a bit more sluggish and reliant on caffeinated drinks. It could be damaging your skin and internal organs, too.

Also, like I once discovered during a run, it is possible to sweat and smell what you have been drinking if you haven’t drunk enough water. It only takes smelling eggnog-sweat to really drive it home that water is what you need.

So, while others are looking tired and nursing prolonged headaches, by working out regularly, you will be reminded to stay properly hydrated with water.

Regular Exercise Can Reduce Holiday-Related Stress

Let’s face it—while the holidays are full of glitter and magic for children, for most adults, there is a lot of stress connected to the holidays. Adults have to plan to meet up with family, friends or both. They need to balance work responsibilities along with other obligations.

As a father, I have the extra work of helping with costumes, driving kids to and from holiday parties, and earning extra for those special Christmas gifts.

No matter your obligations during the holiday, it is essential that you carve out some dedicated time for your workouts. Just as exercising helps with stress during the rest of the year, it doesn’t make sense to give up your stress outlet during the holiday season when you are far likelier to become stressed out.

Allows For Something Other Than Overindulging

A lot of holiday celebrations revolve around overindulging in food and generally just being more sedentary than usual. This holiday-induced gluttony can be even worse when you travel to spend the holiday with family or play host to a family that traveled to reach you.

The abrupt change from an active, busy lifestyle to an indulgent one can be stressful. It can make it difficult to deal with the excess energy you have when you skip a workout.

Also, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much food, enforced together time, and too little personal time can be incredibly stressful. Rather than marinate in overindulgence, you should carve out time for your workouts.

By sticking to your regular exercise schedule, you can give yourself a good reason to take some personal time. After hosting a house full of relatives, I love escaping to the quiet of my gym. I lift for an hour or layer up and go on a run. By taking a break from all the food and noise, it can be easier to come back and engage with family and friends.

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11 Ways to Prevent Weight Gain During Shelter-At-Home

11 Ways to Prevent Weight Gain During Shelter-At-Home

As countries around the globe attempt to “flatten the curve” of the novel coronavirus pandemic, many of us are hunkering down in accordance with shelter-at-home orders. While losing weight is certainly still doable during this time, a smart goal to focus on instead is maintaining your current weight.

“It’s normal to feel high stress and anxiety in the face of so many uncertainties, and you might even feel tempted to go into survival mode and toss your healthy food and lifestyle choices out the window,” says Dr. Richa Mittal, a weight-loss specialist based in Frisco, Texas.

The good news: It’s possible to combat stress-eating and couch-sitting to maintain your weight and come out of this experience even stronger — you just need the right strategy.

SET A DAILY CALORIE GOAL

Similar to when you’re focused on losing weight, “maintaining your weight requires keeping track of how many calories you’re putting into your body,” says Gerald E. Nissley, PsyD. One of the simplest ways to do that is to set a daily calorie goal and keep track of your intake of food and drinks with an app like MyFitnessPal. Even if you don’t log every day, regularly checking in can help you stay on track and make sure you’re not over- or under-eating to maintain your weight.2

ESTABLISH A MORNING AND EVENING ROUTINE

Deviating from your typical routine during the pandemic can make your mood tank, but the reverse is true, too: Re-establishing a routine can help raise your spirits and ward off stress. Pro tip:Frame your day with a wake-up and wind-down routine, suggests Molly Carmel, a licensed clinical social worker. “This can bring comfort and normalcy at a time that feels so abnormal and uncertain,” she says. What’s more, getting enough sleep also helps keep your metabolism healthy, which can support your weight-maintenance efforts.

Creating healthy routines doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, consider a brief meditation or brisk morning walk to help energize you in the morning, and an easygoing stretch routine or hot bath to de-stress before bed.

SCHEDULE YOUR MEALS AND SNACKS

It’s no surprise following a consistent schedule of healthy eating and exercise can help you maintain your weight over time, according to a study in Obesity. “When you have a set schedule, you’re more likely to incorporate healthy routines and habits on a daily basis — and consistency gets you closer to your goals,” says Carmel.

On a paper calendar or with an app, schedule meal and snack times throughout the day. Then, set reminders to help take the guesswork of when you should be eating and use the alarm bell as a cue to log your intake.

COMMIT TO MOVE EVERY DAY

Another way to reduce stress and maintain your weight: Get moving at least once a day. “Our bodies crave movement and the feel-good endorphins that come with it,” says Carmel. As such, make it a point to put daily workouts on your calendar, too. With multiple YouTube videos, Instagram tutorials and free apps, there are plenty of ways to add variety to your new at-home workouts, she says.5

FIND A VIRTUAL ACCOUNTABILIBUDDY

It can be a struggle to stick with your workout schedule if you don’t have someone to keep you accountable, so partner up with a friend for a FaceTime workout, suggests Dr. Mittal. Even if it’s only a text check-in before and after you workout, you’ll get some much-needed social connection, a mood boost and added motivation. Plus, research shows working out with someone can compel you to push yourself harder than you would if you were solo.6

ACCEPT THAT SETBACKS ARE A POSSIBILITY

Sticking with a healthy eating plan and exercise routine is especially difficult when so much is going on in the world. “Times are hard, so remember that you don’t have to manage this perfectly,” says Carmel. Rather than getting down on yourself when you skip a workout or consume extra calories, be compassionate with yourself. Remind yourself of the times you showed up to sweat it out and better controlled your portions in the past. Then, commit to getting back on track.7

COMBAT STRESS

Stress can threaten your weight-maintenance goals by dialing up cortisol levels which in turn can trigger cravings for comfort foods. The fix: Find ways to de-stress by soothing yourself and leaning on others, suggests Carmel. For instance, you might include diffusing essential oils and playing your favorite music, listening to a guided meditation or podcast, taking a walk outside (while social distancing, of course), reading a book or calling a friend or family member.

CLEAN UP YOUR GROCERY LIST

During shelter-at-home orders, trips to the grocery store have to be more intentional, especially if you’re eating on a budget. Now’s the perfect time to cut down on processed foods and stock up on healthy staples like fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables as well as whole foods with long shelf lives like dry lentils and beans, recommends Mittal. Focusing on healthy eating choices and reducing temptations is more likely to help you maintain a healthy weight.

MEAL PREP SNACKS

In the midst of such high-stress times, some impulsive eating is to be expected, but you can plan ahead by stocking up on nutrient-dense, low-calorie snacks. Where and how you store your snacks can make a difference, too, says Nissley. For instance, if you know you’ll eat a bag full of chips or a package of cookies in no time, opt for pre-portioned snack packs instead. “Keep them on an out-of-reach shelf or inside a cabinet instead of on your countertops or kitchen table,” suggests Nissley. This way, you have time to ask yourself first, “Am I really hungry?”

SEPARATE FOOD FROM ENTERTAINMENT

To cut down on grazing and avoid reaching the bottom of the chip bag in one sitting, make it a point to only eat when you’re free of all distractions, says Dr. Mittal. That means shutting off the TV, putting your phone down and stepping away from your laptop before you sit down to eat. Eating more mindfully and engaging all five senses, helps you recognize when you’re actually full and prevents overeating.

CELEBRATE THE WINS

“Any step in the right direction is a reason to pat yourself on the back,” says Carmel. Stick with your workout? Prepare a healthy dinner? There are plenty of non-scale victories that can indicate improvement to your overall physical and mental health. Make sure to take a moment to celebrate steps forward and acknowledge your progress.

Source:  BY LAUREN KROUSE APRIL 30, 2020