It's hard to believe the holiday season is upon us once again!
The holidays are traditionally a time for giving, a time of good cheer, a time to celebrate with family and friends, and of course a time during which most of us indulge in copious amounts of food and drink!
This holiday season I'd like to challenge you to actually lose body fat, rather than focusing on "minimizing weight gain". The following Top Form Fitness strategies can help you realize this goal of starting the New Year in better shape:
1. Plan your "cheat" meals in advance. You still need to enjoy your favorite foods while getting in better shape, so schedule the days when you have a big meal planned in advance. For example, mark on your calendar: holiday parties, Christmas family dinners, and any other major event that involves large meals. Allow yourself one of these "reward" meals each week, but once you've made this schedule stick to it!
2. Eat "Low Carbs" the day before one of these "reward" days. When you deplete your body of it's glycogen stores by consuming fewer starchy carbs and sugars, you increase the likelihood that the additional calories you consume the following day will be stored as glycogen (for energy) as opposed to being stored as fat.
3. Schedule your fat burning workouts in advance as well. The holidays can get busy with shopping, family time, parties, etc, so you need to plan your workouts in advance to be sure you make time for them. Also plan a workout before each of your "reward" meals, to further deplete your glycogen stores and increase fat burning.
Remember you don't need to slow, long duration cardio workouts to reduce body fat. In fact, shorter, higher intensity circuit training workouts, as in the Top Form Fitness System, are far more effective. Try performing a high repetition circuit training workout using body-weight and free weight exercises, and alternating between compound exercises for your lower body, upper body and core throughout the workout.
4. Don't drink your calories. Reduce your consumption of alcohol, soft drinks, egg nog, and juices over the holidays (as well as during the rest of the year!). Beverages are typically very high in "fast-digesting" calories and will end up expanding your waistline without making you feel full or satisfied. Stick to water as your main beverage, and keep tight reins on anything else you drink over the holiday season.
5. Eat protein in most meals. Protein foods are not only filling, but they can help moderate your blood sugar levels and control your appetite. You will usually have plenty of high-protein foods to choose from over the holidays, such as turkey, chicken, and ham.
6. Make sure you have strong social support. This is a time of year when you will need to get support from your family and peers. It helps to let others know that you are working on improving your fitness and making some lifestyle changes. This increases your accountability as well as creating a support group of those around you.
I also invite you to share your "nutritional challenges" over the next few weeks on this blog, as I'm sure there are other readers who can offer words of advice and support from their own experience.
That's it... a solid 6 Step Plan to help you actually lose several unwanted pounds over this holiday season, and start your New Year off ahead of the game!
I am also working on something you will definitely want to check out soon: an resource which will include my Top Form Fitness training system as well as a complete body-transforming nutrition plan by nutritionist Trionne Moore. We expect it to be available by this spring, 2010. Keep an eye out for it at www.HungryForFitness.com.
Another very important "get lean" tip to remember over the holidays is to get enough sleep! Lack of sleep can increase your appetite, increase fat storage, and interfere with fat metabolism!
Here are some things that have helped me beat the proverbial holiday weight gain....
I've brought different dishes of my own to people's places (they are always happy about that) and different healthy desserts.I created healthy banana bread cookie recipe made with spelt flour,olive oil and raw honey,and everyone gobbles those up!
I try to bring my protein shake and a boiled egg incase I get too tempted.
Make mashed sweet potatoes with a little organic butter instead of white potatoes.
I play around with the kids after,instead of sitting on my butt.We'll play hide and seek or ping pong or musical chairs.
I try to remember that food shouldn't be the center of attention,so I bring board games and really get into the gift opening part,and offer to help more instead of sitting there stuffing my face.
The people in my life have learned to accept that this is my lifestyle now,NOT a diet.
Don't be afraid to start your own healthier traditions.There will always be a relative who hates change because it makes them look at their own habits.
If all elese fails...don't beat yourself up...tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life.
Happy Holidays everyone!!
Excellent suggestions, Shelley! I especially like the mention of this being your "lifestyle" now, not just a short term diet or quick fix weight loss plan!
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