Tips for surviving the holidays without sacrificing your weight-loss goals
No one wants to be a killjoy at a Christmas party or a family get-together. But when it comes to dealing with the temptations of the season’s high-calorie bounty, you don’t have to be a Grinch.
You do need a plan, says Susan J. Bartlett, Ph.D., an associate director of clinical psychology at Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore and a specialist in weight and eating disorders. Last year, she led a small group at the center through the following eat-right strategies. Her expertise and her students’ experiences provide practical lessons for anyone to try.
It Just Keeps Going
The holiday season consists of nearly two months of celebrating, says Bartlett, with goodies appearing in homes and offices at Thanksgiving and continuing until the beginning of January.
“By Christmas, most of the plans to eat less and exercise more have dwindled, and it’s easy to gain a significant amount of weight, even seven to 10 pounds,” she notes. One way to monitor your intake over time: Keep track of your daily habits and set weekly goals around food intake and exercise.
Realize the Challenge
“At any time of the year, losing weight and keeping it off is very difficult,” says Bartlett. “Holidays are an especially high-risk time.” The idea that you should stick to a “diet to lose pounds” is adding stress to an already stressful season.
Set achievable goals, suggests Bartlett. Sure, you may be able to exercise four days a week and eat only 1,400 calories a day at other times, but is it really feasible during the holidays? You’re much more likely to stick to your plan and succeed if you set your expectations more realistically, aiming to maintain your weight or to minimize weight gain to, say, one to three pounds.
Write It Down
When you’ve figured out your goals, write them down and keep a diary of what you eat. “When researchers talk to people who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off, they inevitably say that writing everything down made the biggest difference. It’s that willingness to stay in touch with what you’re eating that’s important,” Bartlett explains.
Even more critical is keeping track of your weight: Group members weighed in every week. “People say this accountability factor makes a big difference,” notes Bartlett. “Often, people avoid the scale because they don’t want to come face-to-face with the news.” But if you detect a two to three pound gain, there’s still time to get back on track before things escalate.
It’s easy to underestimate the toll that the season takes — physically, psychologically, and emotionally. To avoid gaining weight, you need commitment and awareness. It’s best to do this with a group of people — even one or two friends or a close buddy — whom you can call upon to talk about eating concerns.
In Bartlett’s group, members “got specific” when providing one another with support, preparing strategies for potentially troublesome situations coming up that week. For instance, how would someone manage her food intake with three holiday parties in a row? When the group got together the following week, they’d review how things had gone.
Identify Difficult Situations
One of the best outcomes of a calorie chat group is identifying the situations that cause you to overindulge. Barbara Bohner, a 55-year-old elementary-school guidance counselor, who has worked with Bartlett since last December, has her own trick for getting through parties: “I eat raw vegetables or a piece of fruit before I go out, so I have something in my stomach. I don’t drink any alcohol; instead, I try to hold a glass of sparkling water, so I feel like I’m doing something with my hands. And I try to talk more than I eat.
Avoiding alcohol also appeals to Martha Barchowsky, a 43-year-old businesswoman who has lost more than 100 pounds working with Bartlett. “Last year I had a New Year’s Eve party; I served everyone champagne to toast the holiday, but I had sparkling water in my champagne flute. It’s not the champagne that matters; the real deal is that you’re celebrating with your good friends.”
Packing on Muscle mass involves a lot of dedication and care. At times, trying too hard can have its negative effects too. Right guidance and proper techniques make the perfect recipe to MUSCLE BUILDING. Muscle Building is no joke, but at the same time, very much possible. The bottom line is to workout in the right direction and not to harm your body. Here are some Do’s and Dont’s for Muscle Building.
Muscle Building Tips: Do’s and Dont’s
1) Popping a pill to reach your health and fitness goal is not the answer! Results are temporary and effects the body adversely in the long run.
2) Remove the tag ” Short cut” from your workout schedule. There is no such thing as quick-fix. Dedication and handwork hold the key for MUSCLE BUILDING.
3) Dietary Supplements can be helpful in achieving your goals. Supplementation is designed to supplement your healthy eating and exercise habits.
4) Don’t go in for any supplement you come across. Before taking a supplement, consult your trained or a physician. Always buy supplements from a reputed DRUGSTORE. Do your research before taking in a supplement.
5) Supplements shouldn’t be misunderstood as steroids. Steroids should be a BIG NO. Gather more knowledge on supplements.
6) Muscle Building Diet: It occupies a prominent area in MUSCLE BUILDING pie-chart. You should be highly careful related to your muscle building diet. Always ask your trainer to write down a diet schedule for you.
7) Give rest to your body between two sets, say for two minutes.
8) Not work on more than two muscle groups at a time. Train those muscles in a group which work with each other. This technique has proven to be effective. For eg: Chest and Triceps or biceps and backs.
9) The most effective time to do muscle building exercises is in the morning. You have consumed a lot of carbs by evening. So, carbs become the source of energy for you when you do your exercises in evening. But in morning, body depends on its alternative source i.e FAT for energy. Hence fats get burned up more in morning.
10) Last but not the least, Don’t be biased to any body part. Proper balance is a necessity. Having big upper body and skinny legs is no good. Work out on entire body.
Whether hiking, biking, hitting the beach or lounging by the pool, summer is when we spend the most time outside. Get ready to show some skin and protect yourself from the sun.
Bob says walking is a great exercise to get in shape for the summer. It’s easy on your body, and you can do it anywhere, anytime, no matter who you are. When you set out, go for time (20 to 30 minutes to start; 45 minute to an hour for more advanced walkers), not distance. Make sure you’re walking at a good clip. On a scale of 1 to 10, your walk should be 7—you can still talk but you don’t want to have a long conversation. And don’t forget to warm up and cool down!
Bob suggests increasing the amount of water you drink during the summer months. This is important both for staying hydrated during a workout and for staying fit. Bob says we often reach for food when our bodies really require more water. Water also has a “filling” effect, making us less prone to overeating.
Classic diets generally make us feel as though we are depriving ourselves, something we can’t do for very long. And drastically decreasing the calories you eat slows your metabolism, causing you to lose energy and motivation, which will sabotage your efforts.
Instead, allow your body to increase your metabolism and adjust to your new cardiovascular exercise for one to two months. It’s very important to exercise aerobically, then gradually change your eating habits—eliminate late-night eating, eat breakfast and reduce portion sizes. This will have a much greater impact and not cause your metabolism to shut down.
Numerous studies suggest that women can relieve their symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome with regular cardiovascular exercise (3 to 4 days a week). Here are some findings and theories behind the exercise-PMS connection:
No pain, no gain? Not anymore! Recent studies show that even short intervals of activity, such as walking just 10 minutes a day, can increase your fitness level. Use any opportunity you have to walk.
If you need to go shopping, park your car at the far end of the parking lot and make sure to walk the full length of the mall. You’ll be so fit; you may need to start shopping for smaller sizes.
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. (Lung cancer is the leading cause.)
In recent years, major studies have shown a direct correlation between physical activity and cancer risk. Adding 30 minutes of exercise to one’s daily schedule can decrease the risk of colon cancer by 15 percent. And more exercise can reduce the risk even further.
Moderate exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer and breast cancer.