By Jennifer Nicole Lee,
Miss Bikini America 2005, Miss Muscle and
There is a holiday
weight gaining problem, and it needs to be addressed. Just
take a look at the shocking statistics: People usually gain
anywhere from a whopping 7-12 pounds during the holidays. And
usually their New Years resolutions to lose it only last about
2 weeks. This newly gained weight is then brought into the New
Year. In order for anyone to not gain weight during the winter
is to first understand why we gain it in the first place. We
need to fully comprehend why we gain weight at this time of
the year and how can we resolve this unhealthy phenomenon.
Below we will take a close look at all the numerous factors
that play a part.
Cold Weather and its Role In Weight
You heard it hundreds of times in one of
the oldest Christmas carols: ?the weather outside is
frightful?! As we all know, sometimes it?s just that much more
pleasant to stay inside than to face the harsh cold weather
outside. We are almost forced to move less during these cold
winter months, therefore making it harder to burn off the
extra calories. In addition, the weather forces us to also
wear big bulky clothes allowing us to cover up our problem
areas. And as the old adage says ?out of site, out of mind?.
If our clothes don?t force us to take our weight gain
seriously, we have a slip in attitude towards making sure we
don?t gain weight. I remember a great story about Arnold
Schwarzenegger who purposely would walk around in a cut off
shirt, exposing his ab area. He used this technique to
continually remind himself to eat the right foods and always
make working out a priority. Use this strategy too. Once
a week, put on your swimsuit and take a good look. Use this
tool to take your own personal inventory of your problem
areas, and what you need to work on. No matter what the
weather is outside, make sure you get your exercise in, even
if it is working out to an exercise DVD inside, or lifting
weights in your home gym.
The physiological aspects of cold weather
too are phenomenal. For thousands of years, when the
temperature dropped, it instantly triggers a survival aspect,
thus urging us to want to eat more. It?s a trick that our own
minds play on us. When it?s cold, we want to eat due to our
survival mechanism which is deep in our human
conditioning. We can combat this by using our food
journal, making sure we eat every 2-3 hours, and using portion
control. Another helpful tip is to eat when we are at a level
4 or 5 on a scale of 1-10 for our hunger. This will keep
our big food cravings at bay, because if we are not that full
and not that hungry, our cravings that are caused from the
cold weather wont be that cold.
One study had 10 people in a colder room,
and another set of 10 in another that was comfortable. Both
sets of people were fed the same meals at lunch. The study
showed that the ones in the colder room ate more than the
other set. This illustrates that colder weather does
indeed cause people to eat more. By understanding this
phenomenon and planning your meals in advance, you will have
much more control over your eating habits during the cold
winter months. One other solution is to sip on hot herbal tea
with a squeeze of lemon instead to keep your body temperature
Food is the focal point of many
Lets face it, when the holidays are here,
food is the focal point of most social gatherings. Parties,
get togethers, and family dinners are all high food affairs
with tons of unhealthy choices. Also many people feel forced
to eat to fit and blend in to the party. And socially, it?s at
times also considered rude to not eat. We can combat
this by making sure we eat before hand, not arriving to the
social function on an empty stomach as this will cut the urge
to over indulge in high fat and high calorie
Instead of focusing on the food at your
next office party, make sure you strike up conversations with
your fellow friends. Concentrate on your networking and
connecting at your holiday get togethers rather than the food.
If you really want to dig in, just remember the one golden
rule of the holidays: ?all things in moderation?.
Holidays are a stressful
Even with all the cheerful glee, the
holidays are a stressful time. We all have tons of ?to do?s?
and so little time to get it all done. We are prone to stress,
therefore emotional eating soothes our nerves. Sometimes
we get confused and we are triggered by our own emotions to
eat even when we are not hungry, therefore packing on the
pounds from this mindless eating. To deter this, try
scheduling a ?detox? time where you can go and just deep
breathe for at least 10 minutes. It will de-stress you and
help you to not resort to food when you get
Your workouts also are a great stress
releaser. Make sure you treat your workouts as important
business meetings that you cannot be late to, or cancel, or
?call in sick? to, with the most important person in the
world: YOU! During the holidays, it may seem much easier to
forget about exercising all together until the New Year. But
hang on! Make sure you schedule your workouts in advance and
make them happen. Getting to the gym during the holidays will
keep you less stressed and more balanced, therefore making
your holiday season just that much more enjoyable!
My solution for all of those who kind find
the time to workout is to ?put yourself back on your to do
list!? Yes, agreed-there is too much to do during the holidays
such as running errands, traveling, and shopping for
presents. We can use the excuse that we don?t have time
to exercise. But you can always find the time.
Shift your mind set from ?I have to exercise? to
?I get to exercise? and your body will take action! Look
forwards to your workouts as a perfect solution to not having
your alone YOU time. Its just as important as getting
everything else done.
As you have seen, there is a problem with
winter weight gain. Use these easy guidelines and you will
find yourself enjoying a more balanced and healthier holiday
Make friends again with your
Measuring Cups-Practice Portion control-
If there is one rule to the holiday
season, its ?All things in moderation?. If you crave your Aunt
Sue?s famous pumpkin pie, than have a small slice that you
savor. Make every bite count! I am not here to take all the
fun out of the holidays for you. However if you want to
maintain your physique you must work smarter not harder. Don?t
be like a ?gerbil? on a wheel? going no where fast by eating
out of control and them going to the gym. Remember what is
true: its about 20% exercise, and 80% nutrition. If you keep
this in mind, you wont go and blow your entire food plan by
overeating this holiday season.
Be a Smarter Chef
Learn how to make ?concoctions? making
sure you tweak all of your favorite recipes, and taking out
all the unnecessary fat and calories. I love to take my moms
old fashioned Italian recipes, and making them higher in
protein and much leaner. You too can do the same with your
recipes. Instead of shortening or oil, you can use applesauce
for when you bake. Take out all salt when its not needed. And
when you are cooking with eggs, take out the yolks. It?s just
that simple to be a smarter chef!
Don?t be a Perfectionist, Rather be
By banishing the ?all or nothing? mentally
towards your fitness lifestyle, you will be able to reach your
goals and maintain them much easier. Therefore focus on not
being perfect, but rather being persistent. If you cant go to
the gym for an entire hour and a half, then go for 30 minutes.
At least you will be able to squeeze in abs and cardio. And
your body will thank you for it!
Yes, the holidays are about spending it with family and
friends, and not locking yourself up in the weight room.
Therefore remember to keep moving and to open your mind to
other ways to get your workout in with your family. After
dinner, go for a brisk walk to get fresh blood and oxygen
circulating to all the cells in your body! Or in the morning,
pop in an exercise dvd that you can do while your family and
friends are getting organized for the day. Make every minute
count of your day and utilizing a free moment here or there to
pick up a set of dumbbells and pumping out a couple of sets.
You will get energized and feel just that much
And most importantly, don?t give up!
Fitness is not a one time event that you do once and forget
about. Weight lifting, exercising, and fitness is a journey to
be enjoyed. Make the process fun and enjoyable and you
will stick with it all just that much more-and yes, you too
can have a healthy and happy holiday season, without gaining
all the weight!
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