Defeat Holiday Nutrition Pitfalls

After using your Horizon Fitness equipment all year, you’ll want to avoid undoing your hard work during the holidays. Unfortunately, research shows that most people gain about a pound over the holidays and fail to lose it in the following year. The good news is that people who are physically active experience less holiday weight gain, so continuing your home fitness efforts will help to keep you on the right track. The bad news is the holidays come complete with every diet destroying effort known to mankind and without conscious effort on your part, you’re likely to find yourself weighing in on the heavy side this New Year’s day. Try these tips to keep your biggest holiday challenges in check.

Holiday Challenge #1: The Holiday Party. High calorie hors d’oeuvres, a festive atmosphere, lots of libations and late nights spell disaster for your waistline. To beat this challenge, wear a party outfit a little on the snug side and choose wisely when it comes to liquid calories. Start with sparkling water and alternate any alcoholic beverages with sparkling water or diet soda throughout the night. Find a place to socialize away from the snacks and choose only the foods you really want. If the event is later in the day and you’re likely to be famished, have a small snack high in protein before you arrive to take the edge off your appetite and leave you with room for better choices.

Holiday Challenge #2: The Office Break Room. From Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day, the break room and reception area brim with calorie-dense temptations. Although the indulgences are small, their sheer volume and constant presence make them one of the biggest holiday health threats. Your best option? Avoid these areas whenever possible and bring your own healthy snacks to work. Fill up on nutrient-dense, high-volume food, such as fresh veggies and fruit, whole grain crackers and air-popped popcorn. Keeping your tummy filled with the good stuff makes you less likely to snack out of desperation throughout the day. This is another good reason to avoid skipping meals and make sure you’re adequately hydrated.

Holiday Challenge #3: Family Festivities. There may only be one Christmas day, but most of us will be heading for multiple celebrations with close family, extended family, in-laws and dear friends. Those get-togethers usually involve long afternoons or evenings, frequent beverage pouring and lots of opportunities for “just one more” cookie or appetizer. Bring a healthy dish (or snack) to share, stay away from seconds and use your calories wisely on special foods, rather than those you can have anytime of the year. When hosting, be careful about grazing while you cook and cut back on the fat and sugar in your meals. To lighten up your holiday favorites, check out this article and these suggestions.

Holiday Challenge #4: Seasonal Goodies. Knowing that our Christmas favorites will only be here for a short time makes it easier to rationalize overindulgence. How do you combat the urge? Don’t deprive yourself. It’s likely to lead to feelings of guilt or regret when you cave. Instead, eat slowly and enjoy the occasional festive treat. Use a plate for your snack to eat less and enjoy it more. If you’re sharing with a crowd, don’t purchase or prepare your contributions too far in advance. Having them around just invites temptation. Finally, if you can take it or leave it, you’re better of leaving it. Food gifts can be donated to a local food pantry (or inflicted on your co-workers through the office break room) rather than kept in your home.

Holiday Challenge #5: Crazy Schedules. December’s last minute gift shopping and long hours before vacation leave most of us starving in a nutritional wasteland at some point. Plan ahead. Avoid getting too hungry, which leads to poor nutritional choices. Know the menu of a few favorite fast food restaurants. Most have healthy options to get you through. You can also defeat this holiday demon by packing healthy snacks containing enough protein to sustain you through your errands. Peanut butter and jelly, cheese and whole grain crackers, and vegetables and hummus are all great grab-and-go options. Pack a bottle of water to avoid packing on empty liquid calories.

Enjoy your holidays! Rather than emphasizing deprivation, planning ahead lets you choose when to indulge guiltlessly. Including time for a few quality workouts on your Horizon Fitness equipment will help keep the calorie laden comforts of the season from hitting you hard in the New Year.

Weigh In: How are you keeping up with your fitness efforts this holiday season?

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