If you want to take your fitness and health seriously, you must take a hard look at the holidays! From there you will decide how you will enjoy the season, and keep your gut in check. The average American consumes 3000 calories on Thanksgiving, 7000 calories on Christmas, and on average 619 extra calories daily between Thanksgiving and New Years. What does that mean? The average person needs 1400-2400 calories to support their current body weight. An additional 619 per day over the 40 day holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Years) would include 24,760 extra calories, or 7 potential pounds of unwanted fat. It is not hard to overeat by this much, one additional alcoholic drink and two cookies per day will equate to 600 calories or more.
How can I combat this, enjoy the holiday, and stay on track? Fortunately it’s easier than you think to combat the holiday weight gain. On the day of Thanksgiving, Christmas, & New Years you can go for a nice long walk, or hit the gym if it’s open. During the holiday season itself you can aim to burn an extra 619 calories per day if you know you will be consuming additional calories. The most efficient way to burn 619 is through combining strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, and stretching. For those of you not currently exercising this could daunting, so start with these tips.
Daily & weekly habits to combat holiday weight gain.
-consume primarily lean proteins, vegetables, and healthy fats for most of your day.
-consume 1/2 your body weight in ounces of water so you don’t mistake thirst for hunger.
-take 10,000 steps minimum per day (5 Miles) to keep your physical activity up.
-strength train 2-3 days per week. Make sure you are using good form, and if you are unsure hire a professional.
-don’t go to a holiday party, or the grocery store hungry. A protein shake and a piece of fruit before the party will help you to stay away from mass amounts of dopamine stimulating food items (cookies, cake, candy).
-create a daily to do list. The holidays can be overwhelming.
-schedule a massage to help you relax.
-take some deep breaths before you go shopping, it’s going to be busier than usual, just take it in stride.
-get 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
When the day of the holiday comes enjoy yourself! You can plan all month-long, but you shouldn’t be the weird person that won’t have a cookie, or holiday beer on the holiday itself! One day will not ruin you progress. If you follow most of the daily and weekly habits to combat the holiday weight gain above, you will be fine.
Remember while consuming alcohol during the holidays that the higher the alcohol percentage the higher the caloric load. The law of three applies to beer. Take the alcohol percentage multiplied by three to get the relative calories in the drink. A 11% craft beer is about 330 calories. Don’t use this as an excuse to crush lite beers. A Miller Light still has 90 calories, so four Miller lights has more calories than a Mad Elf, and you probably will enjoy the Mad Elf more! Stick to one or two high quality beers and if you must have something else a single liquor with a zero calories mixer is a decent option. Rum and Black Cherry Zevia, Vodka or Rum and Diet Ginger Beer, (Moscow Mule, Dark and Stormy) Vodka and Seltzer, Gin and Diet Tonic. I’m not a big proponent of diet soda (aspartame) so stick with Stevia based mixers, which seems to be the safest alternative now, or you can always drink the liquor on the rocks.
The most important thing is to enjoy the holidays, spend time with friends and family, stay positive, and spread some love! Give to local charities, be kind to you neighbor, and remember what the season is really about! Thank you for taking the time to read this blog, I’m very grateful for the support! Have a wonderful holiday, and if you overindulged over the holidays, you know where to find me!
~Mike Formal Fitness Training CEO