I hope this holiday season finds you well. Christmas is now if full swing with holiday parties scheduled every weekend it seems. So, I wanted to send you an early present that will hopefully benefit you this season!
The best gift I could think of to give you is this: My 12 Personal Tips on How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain. So here it goes…
- Make room in your diet. If you have a party planned, cut out some calories from an earlier meal like lunch or dinner. Save some calories so you can enjoy a small indulgence at the party without blowing your calorie target for the day.
- Add an extra workout. This one’s a no brainer. I know it gets very busy this time of year but make it a priority to fit in an extra workout or two, or just workout a little longer when you do. Every little bit counts and those extra calories you burn will give you more of a “cushion” with the extra sweets.
- Choose a form-fitting outfit. When dressing for parties choose an outfit that is more form-fitting. This will probably make you more body conscious & prevent you from eating more than you should.
- Drink water or shakeology just before the party. NEVER go to a party hungry! Just before going drink a bottle of water or better yet have a shakeology. This will fill you up and prevent snacking!
- Position yourself furthest away from the food table. When socializing don’t stand right next to the food table. You will be at much higher risk of mindless snacking. Instead choose to stand furthest away or if the food’s in a separate room don’t go in! If it’s unavoidable, choose the healthiest snack you can find to stand by & plant yourself there!
- Pick 1 or 2. Instead of trying a little of everything, look at all your options and choose 1 or 2 of your favorites. Also, just because you take it, doesn’t mean you have to finish it! If you don’t like it after a bit or two, throw it out! You want to enjoy the calories you consume, don’t waste them!
- Let others go first. When all the food is ready & set out, or if eating buffet style, let everyone else go first! Yes, this means some of the things that you might have wanted to try might be gone, but that will make your choice of what to eat that much easier!
- Limit the beverages. Beverages have calories too, sometimes a lot more than you realize. This goes for more than just alcohol. Cider & egg nog have a lot of calories too. Be mindful of the drinks and make a conscious decision to not drink all your calories. Drink more water.
- Bring the healthy treat. If your going to a potluck style party, be the one to bring the healthy snack! That way you’ll know there will be at least one thing healthy to snack on. No doubt others will appreciate it too & more likely than not it will be the first item to be finished. Also, limit the taste testing if cooking. Those small bites add up in calories quickly & often go unaccounted for.
- Have your workouts & meals planned. Put your workouts on your calendar and make them non-negotiable. This way you’ll be less likely to skip them or miss them all together. Decide at the beginning of your day what you’ll be eating. Have your meals planned out and then stick to your meal plan. Leave a 100-200 calorie cushion so if an unexpected treat passes your way you can enjoy a small portion.
- Choose the smallest plate. At parties or family meals choose the smallest plate available and then don’t allow yourself to go for second’s. Eat whatever you fit on the small plate and then be finished.
- Accountability. Ask whoever your with, be it a friend or spouse, to help hold you accountable. Set a limit to how many drinks you’ll have or the number of snacks and have whoever your with hold you to that! Tell them to remind you if they see you losing will power or starting to over-indulge. This is probably the most important tip because many go in with good intentions & limits set but get caught up in the holiday spirit and end up consuming more than originally intended. Accountability works & is your fail-safe.
There you have it! I hope these tips will help keep you on track this season. It’s also not too early to start thinking about your health or fitness goals for 2012! Have them set before the 1’st so there won’t be any delay in getting started. Beachbody’s programs & products make excellent & healthy gifts so don’t forget to consider them when making your gift lists! Gift cards are available this year as well!
I am here if you have any questions or need any help or accountability so please don’t hesitate to contact me. Otherwise, I hope you have a joy filled holiday season.
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Everyone has a fitness story, because fitness is truly a journey. Very few people will have the exact body they want for their entire lives because LIFE HAPPENS! Kids come, schedules get busier than ever, our bodies change as we get older. What you have to understand is that you can’t strive for perfection. It doesn’t exist! No one has a perfect body-though it may seem like they do. Everyone struggles with health and fitness in some way. That’s why it’s important to be willing to share your own story and personal journey. You DON’T have to have a perfect body or be in perfect shape to be able to inspire and motivate someone else. You just have to be putting forth the effort, keeping a positive attitude. When others see you making health conscious choices & fitting in your workouts consistently, they will be attracted to that. You are setting a good example, role modeling what it means to live a healthy life stye. People look to those they can identify with or who can identify with them. Setting that example alone will help motivate & inspire them to do the same.
I believe we are all role models for someone. Whether you realize it or not is another question. Being a positive or negative role model depends on your attitude, choices, and life style. It’s not just with regards to health and fitness, but every aspect of life. People are watching! Children, friends, family, co-workers. What is your attitude, choices, and life stye telling them? Will it have a positive or negative influence? Deciding what type of role model you want to be is important because whether you acknowledge it or not, eyes are on you! You have an amazing opportunity to influence the lives of others in a positive way. You never know whose life might be effected or who might be quietly watching.
As a fitness coach I often meet people who share with me their passion for health/fitness and helping others, but when I talk to them about being a coach themselves and sharing their passion, the most common answer I receive is “no I can’t do that! I’m not in good enough shape yet” or “Once I’m in better shape or hit my own goal, then I’ll think about it”. What they fail to realize is exactly what I said above, that the effort you make in the face of the struggle is what inspires people the most. It’s what they can identify with. You are modeling the behavior for them as you pave the way and push through yourself. Your effort, regardless of where you are on your journey, speaks volumes!
It feels good to be healthy. If feels great to motivate others, but it feels AMAZING when you play a part in someone else’s success in reaching their goals. Especially when it motivates them to get excited about health. That’s leadership! Those are the results of good role modeling. You can be an inspiration to others, even if your still at the beginning of your journey. I believe that we are called on this earth to serve, and this is one way you can help serve others. By showing them and demonstrating the importance of health. Motivating them through your own life style and story. By being a role model.
I don’t have a perfect body. I still struggle with diet. I still struggle with the numbers on the scale going up and down. I have my good days and bad days just like every other person. I’m HUMAN. But that doesn’t stop me from doing my very best to be a good role model and health advocate for others. It makes me “real” and despite all my flaws, I am thankful that I have a body that functions and allows me to push it like I do. I’m thankful that I am able to do things that I enjoy while showing others the importance of health in the process. That’s my passion. We need more positive role models not just for our youth, but for everyone at any age in health and in life.
My challenge to you is to take charge of your own health if you haven’t already. If you have, then look around at the people you know. Is there someone who you can help or share your story with? Someone who you didn’t realize was looking to you as their role model? Anyone you can encourage or be their accountability in helping them reach a fitness goal?
What it comes down to is this…It doesn’t matter who you are. YOU can be an advocate for health. You have the power to have a positive influence. Serve others. Be a positive role model. Be a leader.
~sometimes slowing down is ok
If you’ve ever had a surgery, illness, injury or anything that has prevented you from your normal workout routine you can relate with what I’m about to share. I recently had oral surgery that completely benched me from my workouts for 10 days except for “light walking & stretching”. It was an elective surgery and I knew going into it that I would be restricted from working out for at least 10 days. I also knew that it was going to be hard for me, a huge challenge. What I didn’t know was some of the other emotions it was going to bring out and what I would learn about myself.
To help hold me accountable I had my parents fly out from Michigan to stay with me during this week since my husband had to work. I knew I would be tempted to push myself to the limit, but I definitely didn’t want to mess up a $3000 out of pocket surgery! So the count down began. If you’re anything like me, you don’t let “little” things like SURGERY slow you down, I was forced to get creative, but I had a plan.
I was told that I should not workout except for light walking & stretching which was acceptable and would not put me at risk for complications. To someone whose passion is fitness & working out and who teaches classes, that is like a death sentence! First of all, what does “light” walking mean anyway!!? In my book, there is walking and then speed walking! Does it mean I am supposed to walk slow, only walk for short duration, avoid hills, or as fast as I want as long as it doesn’t get my heart rate up? I guess that is something that I should have clarified because “walking” to someone who is athletic and “walking” to someone else could mean very different things! Well, I decided to go with the definition for light walking as: going at a pace that is comfortable without raising your heart rate. So I started walking twice a day for 30-60mins. Let me tell you, that was hurtle number 1. Going from intense workouts 6-7x a week for 1-3 hrs a day down to walking 2x a day is a huge difference! I, of course, immediately started going stir crazy and constantly had to check myself and even slow myself down. I also planned over the course of the 10 days as many non-workout ACTIVE activities as I could, most of which involved cleaning. I organized the garage. I, along with my parents help, cleaned just about every inch of the house. I ran many errands, walking to as many of the close ones as I could. I would make it a point when cleaning to not take huge loads so I would have to make more trips up and down the small staircase we have. We went shopping at the mall and I walked laps around it while my parents went in the stores. I did my best to keep a positive attitude about it too. You are probably laughing at my silliness and thinking I am crazy and why not just enjoy the good excuse I have NOT to workout! Well, because it’s just not that simple for me. But, through the process I was able to learn some valuable things.
The first thing I learned, which is no secret, is that I am addicted to working out and that it has become very hard for me to sit still. The life-style & pace of life in southern California is definitely different from that of a small town in Michigan which is where I am from originally. In fact, you don’t even really realize how fast things are going by unless you make a conscious effort to STOP and look around. The past couple years have just flown by and I have gotten a lot accomplished of which I am proud. However, sometimes we are so focused on the end goal that we forget to look around and pause to enjoy the process as we are going through it! If you don’t take the time to look around, life will zip by you and then it will be to late. I’m not saying you shouldn’t focus on your goals, you absolutely should! Focus is the only way you’ll accomplish them. All I’m saying is, I was reminded to not forget to stop and enjoy/appreciate the process.
What I also learned about myself is that portion and calorie control is still a major issue for me. Having to drop the intense workouts meant I didn’t burn as many calories which in-turn meant I had to cut way back on what I was eating. The majority of people who are trying to lose weight struggle with diet. I am definitely one of the majority. I like eating! It is hard for me to say no to foods that I like. Portion control is hard for me and I hate the guilty feeling I get whenever I’ve eaten poorly, or gone over my calorie target. Normally, if that happened, I would just add another workout to help burn those extra calories. However, being on a workout restriction, I couldn’t just up and go for a 4 mile run! Because of that, I became acutely aware of the calorie amount in everything I was consuming. What I realized was I thought I had a “calorie cushion” because I was previously working out so much, but in reality, I was still consuming more than I thought. They say that 80% of people UNDER estimate how much they consume and that is very true. I had become lax in the calorie counting department because of how much I was working out. I wrongly assumed that I was always in a calorie deficit and could get away with not counting as closely. This explains why reaching my goal weight has been much more difficult for me in the past couple months. Oops!
Even though I tried to keep a positive attitude, what also happened to me, I am ashamed to say, is that I became jealous. Particularly of my husband. He is the most amazing guy in the world and the past 2 months he has been hitting the workouts really hard and doing a superb job eating healthy and cutting junk out of his diet and seeing some fantastic results! The jealousy came with seeing his body look better and more cut and seeing him do so well with his eating habits and be able to workout. Then there was me, who realized she was still eating too much, couldn’t workout, and felt like my body was going in the opposite direction from what I wanted. You might be asking, “you saw all this in just 10 days?” and my answer is yes! You pick up on a lot when you are forced to slow down! It didn’t take long for me to realize I was jealous and I wasn’t sure if it reflected in my attitude enough for my husband to pick up on. Regardless, I immediately went to him and apologized. It is incredibly humbling to have to admit a weakness or failing but he was gracious and understanding and it made me all the more proud of what he has personally accomplished with his fitness goals. It also made me more determined to not let this restriction set me back with my own fitness goals. Jealousy would not get me anywhere! So I took that jealousy and turned it into personal drive and motivation.
My advice to those who ever find themselves in a situation like mine, is realize ahead of time that it is going to be challenging, then decide to make the most of it and learn things about yourself and others that may not have been evident before. Since it was all I was allowed to do, Light walking became part of my daily routine for 10 days and I became an expert at it! It gave me a lot of time to reflect on my self and showed me some things I can work to improve upon which will help me reach my personal goals, be a better wife, as well as a better motivator, coach, & instructor to those I come in contact with in the fitness world. I’d like to think that I have grown as a person because of this experience. If you are currently where I was, my heart goes out to you and I encourage you to keep going, push through, don’t give up! Take advantage of the down time and use it for your benefit! If your able to, do what I did, become an expert walker.
Did you know that by the time your body sends you the trigger that you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated! I guarantee that by the time your done reading this you’ll be reaching for a glass of WATER!
Most everyone knows that our body is made up of nearly 75% water and water is required for many of the body’s essential functions. People think that if they drink tea, juices, sodas, or coffee that they are getting sufficient hydration, but they are WRONG! The truth is that many of those beverages actually have the reverse effect of diuresis (which means they promote the body to excrete water instead of retaining it). In fact, many suffer from chronic dehydration & don’t even realize it!
Symptoms of chronic dehydration include exhaustion, lack of energy, extra weight/obesity, headaches, gastric ulcers/acid reflux, constipation, depression, high cholesterol, as well as other heart & blood pressure issues. That is a long list of things that can easily be prevented simply by drinking enough water!
The general standard of recommend water intake remains 8 to 9 eight oz. glasses per day. If exercising or engaging in any activity that makes you sweat, your water requirement increases and you should drink 1.5-2.5 additional glasses for short workouts and even more for an intense workout of an hour or more. How much more you need to drink for intense workouts depends on the person, how much they sweat, the duration, & type of exercise. During those long intense workouts it is also recommend to drink sports drinks that include sodium as this will help replace the sodium lost through sweating and help prevent hyponatremia which can be life-threatening.
Hot weather and if your ill are two other times you should increase your water intake from the general standard.
If all of that has not convinced you to drink more water then maybe these interesting facts will:
~1% dehydration = leads to thirst.
~2% dehydration = feelings of anxiety, reduced appetite & capacity for work by 20%
~4% dehydration = feelings of nausea, dizziness, emotional instability, & fatigue
~6% dehydration = loss of coordination & coherence of speech
~10% dehydration = thermoregulation failure and cells begin to die
~11% dehydration = requires professional medical care as simply drinking water is not enough due to severe chemical imbalances.
~20% dehydration = may lead to death!
Are you reaching for that glass of water yet??
In short, making sure that you are adequately hydrated can prevent not only a myriad of unwanted symptoms but also help you feel healthy and aid in your weight loss. Water is vital to health and there is NO substitute for it. Years of chronic dehydration can not be reversed over night. Rather water intake should be increased gradually.
So make it your goal this week to increase your water intake starting RIGHT NOW! Go get a glass of water!
By: Tracy Spykerman
Independent Beachbody Coach