With the holiday season right around the corner, it is time to get a handle on your weight and your body fat level before the feasting starts. The average person gains between 5-8 lbs between Halloween and New Year’s Day! If you are having trouble with your weight then you are not alone. A study by the National Center for Health Statistics predicts that 100% of all adults could be classified as overweight or obese by the year 2048. 100%! That is an astounding number and it is even more upsetting when you realize that it is our children we are talking about. Let’s start getting our weight under control now so we can enjoy the holidays and start teaching important lessons to our children so we can ensure that they will have a long and healthy life.
Follow these Four Rules of Fat Loss:
*Increase your activity level.
-Studies show that those participants whose activity levels remained high did not gain weight and some even lost weight during the holidays. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, take the kids to the park instead of watching TV, put down the Wii and go play the actual sport. Exercising with your kids is a great way to spend quality time and to teach them healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to skimp on your workout routine. If anything, step it up a notch as the holiday parties are much more fun when you are feeling good about the way you look!
*Control your portions.
-Of course you will want to enjoy the Thanksgiving classics and you should. Just keep an eye on your portions. It’s not the plate of turkey and stuffing that is the problem, it is the second and third helpings that will end up on your waistline. On Thanksgiving if it’s the pumpkin pie you love, don’t stuff yourself with the crackers and cheese that you could eat anytime. Save your calories for the ones you really want.
*Don’t starve yourself.
-A big mistake though is to “save” your all of your daily calories for that one big meal later in the day. Never do that. Eat breakfast every day and some small snacks so you are not starving by the time dinner comes. If you starve all day you are setting yourself up for failure. Studies show over and over that those who skip breakfast and don’t snack end up overeating at dinner and are more likely to gain weight. It is important to keep your metabolism running high all day and you accomplish that with small meals eaten frequently throughout the day, even during holidays!
*Start strength training tomorrow.
-Strength training is the number one way to increase your metabolism. By adding lean muscle tissue your body will burn more calories every day, even at rest! The reason your metabolism slows as you get older is that you lose 1-2lbs of lean muscle per year. For every pound of muscle that you lose you will most likely add a pound of fat and lose a percentage of your metabolism. The good news is you can reverse this process with as little as 30 minutes of strength training performed 3x/week. Even better it will improve everything from your tennis game to your mood to the way you look in your bathing suit! It’s not about big muscles and bulk as strength training has come a long way in the past few years. Think more “Dancing with The Stars” and less Arnold Schwarzenegger.
By following the Four Rules of Fat Loss you can minimize or eliminate holiday weight gain and get started on the track of long term weight control and fat loss and that means Happy Holidays for everyone!
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Scott Baumann is the co-owner of Fitness Together in South Miami. “Where excellence in personal training meets privacy and luxury.”