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7 Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight Over the Holidays

7 Tips to Avoid Gaining Weight Over the Holidays

The holidays are a time where festive calorie-packed foods start coming out of the woodwork. It is also a time where people tend to overeat and put on a few pounds. Can you avoid gaining weight while still being able to enjoy the delicious holiday food that naturally entails the holiday season? With the right advice, you certainly can. Here are 7 tips that can help you do just that.

1. Avoid tasting every sweet treat you see.

Those cookies and other desserts sure do look good, but you should try and limit yourself to the sweets. Even if you have a natural sweet tooth, it’s not going to do any good if you’re gorging on that, especially after you already ate half the buffet.

While you may certainly be tempted to sample treats you don’t usually get to enjoy the rest of the year, a bit of self-control is still essential during the holidays. Have a few tiny bites and call it quits.

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2. When cooking, limit your ‘tasting.’

You might have learned early on to taste the food while you’re cooking it, but if you’re hosting the holiday party this year, you may want to limit the tasting of it. If you get carried away, you could end up devouring thousands of calories before any guests even arrive.

3. Make sure you don’t arrive hungry.

It’s so tempting to avoid eating before going over to a holiday dinner or other festivity, but that’s not going to help you avoid gaining weight. You should eat as you normally would and don’t fall for the temptation of skipping lunch.

Eat with moderation throughout the day and you won’t be continuing to scarf down everything you see.

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4. Limit the amount of alcohol you consume.

Please remember, this didn’t say don’t drink any alcohol. It said that you should limit just how much alcohol you drink while at this holiday celebration. Depending on the type of alcohol you consume, it could add a lot of calories to your daily intake, ultimately leading to more weight gain.

Beer is loaded with calories (just like soda), but alcohol also reduces your natural inhibitions, increasing the likelihood that you’re going to simply eat too much and regret it before long.

5. Get involved in conversations.

When you’re distracted by the food, you probably have a tendency to simply eat and eat and eat. You would probably keep on eating if you weren’t distracted, so make sure you get yourself involved in conversations. When you’re talking (hopefully) you won’t be eating at the same time. That’ll help temper your urge to stuff your face continuously.

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6. Start walking

Walking before and after you eat can be a great way to burn some calories. Depending on how fast your walk, you may not burn as much as you hope if you’re just casually strolling. Still, any walking is good to help cut back on that holiday weight gain.

Walking is just one of many great tips for a healthier holiday, and these are some others, too.

7. Learn to pace yourself.

The moment you arrive to any holiday celebration and you’re completely hungry, you’ll have a tendency to go overboard right from the start. That means you likely won’t be pacing yourself. By pacing yourself, it will be more conducive to setting the stage for a more reasonable amount of consumption. So how do you pace yourself? Allow yourself a few minutes at the buffet and then move on to another room or seek out that cousin to whom you haven’t talked in years.

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After a while you can return, grab a small plate of snacks and then move on to another conversation. As long as you avoid lingering too long at the food, you’ll end up naturally pacing yourself and that’s going to be incredibly valuable at helping you avoid gaining too much weight over the holidays.

Featured photo credit: m01229 via flickr.com

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Josh MacDonald

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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