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Wellness Wednesday: How to Avoid Packing on Extra Pounds This Winter

It is that time of the year again. Time to “gobble” up those delicious holiday meals and desserts and skip workouts due to traveling or attendance of varying family and work holiday parties. It is also a very common time many will gain their winter weight.

For countless individuals, such winter weight can be caused from depression due to such cold weather changes known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D). a lack of movement as they refrain from going outside, and an increase in sedentary activities, such as watching more television. Nevertheless, what if I could offer you 9 quick tips to prevent weight gain and get started with your New Year’s Resolutions today? Are you in?

Your first challenge is to change your mindset. Many will wait until the New Year because they feel that the start of a new year means it is the best time for a start to a new them. In reality, there is no difference between starting your journey on a Monday, the first of the month, the first of the year, or even starting today. Just remember that every day is a new day to be your best.

Your second challenge is to be patient. Please take a minute or two to think about how long it took you to get into the shape you are currently in. To achieve the results you want, remember this is a lifestyle change, not something that will happen overnight.

Lastly, be open to new ideas and asking for help. If you have never exercised or learned healthy dietary habits, take a second to reach out to a fitness and nutrition professional. Such information is indeed free!

Nine Holiday Health Tips

Fitness

  • Stay Consistent and Stay Accountable: The world’s best fitness and nutrition program will not help you if you do not perform it. Find a strength training and cardiovascular program that you like and stay consistent by exercising three times or more per week. In order to stay accountable, hire a personal trainer or grab a workout buddy. Knowing you have someone waiting on you will prevent you from not showing up.
  • Schedule a Workout: Schedule your workouts into your calendar just like you would an appointment. Keep in mind whether or not you are one who is more apt to complete a workout in the morning versus the evening. Also, schedule weekly weigh-in and measurement sessions in order to monitor your progress.
  • Sign-Up for an Event: Need some motivation or a goal in mind? Find an event which interests you and go ahead and register for it. No turning back now! Such local events may include the Cincinnati Turkey Trot, Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K, a triathlon, a bodybuilding competition, and many others.
  • Backup Workout: Have a backup workout for those busy, bad weather, or even change-in-plan kind of days. This backup workout may be as simple as doing exercises that use only your bodyweight. Remember, doing something is better than nothing.
  • Stay Active Throughout the Day: Grab an activity tracker like a Garmin Vivofit or FitBit and aim for 10,000+ steps per day. This is a great goal to keep you moving throughout the entire day.

Nutrition

  • Keep a Food Diary: The saying, “If you are not assessing, you are just guessing” stands true. Monitor your food intake with an app like MyFitnessPal a few days out of the week. If you are not seeing results, you might just be taking in more calories (eating and drinking) than you are putting out (exercise).
  • Beverages: Limit your soda intake, drink more water, and go easy on the booze over the holidays. Alcohol is full of carbohydrates and sugars which can easily dominate that work you put in at the gym earlier that day.
  • Daily and Party Regimen: Are you ready for your daily and party regimen? Here it is: add a protein source to each meal, chew slowly, and fill up on veggies. In addition, wait before grabbing a second plate as it typically takes 15-20 minutes for you to realize you are full, prepare and bring your own healthy dish to parties, and use smaller plates rather than filling up a large plate with varying foods.
  • Indulge Yourself: Lastly, allow yourself some indulgence by having a small cheat meal every now and then. Not at every meal or every day, but every now and then. It is key to a successful program in order to prevent you from losing your sanity and majorly craving those sweets. 

- Joshua Reed is a certified personal trainer and owner of Reed's Wellness and Fitness Training in Ludlow/Photo via dtphx.com