Chart Your Holiday Fitness Course Now

Yikes, Thanksgiving is later this week. How can we navigate the currents so our fitness and nutritional gains don't sink in the storm of holiday hazards? Follow this course…

OMG! The Orvis Ultimate Gift Guide, Holiday 2012 catalog arrived last week! Like the small tropical depression destined to become a category 3 hurricane, the whirlwind of the Holiday Season will soon be upon us.  Will our ship of Fitness and Wellness sink in the storm of holiday hazards? To help navigate the currents of the upcoming season, follow the course set forth now so that you may plan ahead.

Maintenance Mode

Steady as she goes. The goal of your nutrition and fitness program during the holidays is to maintain your current condition with regards to cardio, strength, flexibility and weight management. Now to New Year’s Day is not the time to consider losing weight or making strength and cardio gains. Now is the time to build your reserve of conditioning and deposit some pounds into the weight bank for the inevitable withdrawals to your waistline later on in the year.

Cardio Bank

The upcoming time of year can be stressful, so fit in your cardio when you can.  Two 15-minute fast walks are as effective as one 30-minute walk, but easier to fit into a busy schedule.  Make every day events supplemental cardio training…take the stairs; park as far as you can from the store; walk around the mall an extra time. In addition to burning about 80 calories a mile, walking or jogging are great seasonal stress busters. Full steam ahead!

Eating Out

Start dinner with a non-creamy soup or salad…dressing on the side. Don’t be afraid to ask the waiter how something is prepared so you may avoid excess calories.  Be assertive, but not obnoxious, about eating well. Most restaurants will accommodate healthful changes in preparation.  Avoid those menu selections that scream shipwreck.  When your plate arrives, study it for a few seconds.  If the portions look big, they probably are.  Ask the waiter for another plate and set aside the excess food.  The plate of extras you created will be a great lunch or dinner the next day and remind you of the fine time you had the evening before. Fresh berries, sorbet or a special coffee make a great ending to dinner.

Holiday Parties

For many of us, the real challenge is the Holiday Cocktail Party, replete with interesting hors d’oeuvres, sophisticated cocktails and gooey deserts.  What’s a good strategy to allow you to enjoy parties while keeping the calories in check? Eat lightly before the party, saving room for the special treats you crave.  As for drinks, liquid calories are the stealthiest: alcohol contains a whopping seven calories per gram.  To avoid the judgment-altering impact of over imbibing, mix hard spirits with club soda, alternating with only club soda.  Try spritzers instead of white wine.  Avoid sweet, creamy drinks that add an extra helping of calories. Most importantly of all, know your booze limit and stay below it: The Holidays are no fun in the sick bay…or brig.

Stay Focused 

All hands on deck! Stay focused on enjoying those things that truly give you pleasure this upcoming Holiday Season.  Build a calorie deficit so that you can indulge when it really counts.  On a business lunch or non-occasion dinner, exercise some restraint.  Just because you always eat candies at the movies, do you want to spend your precious holiday calorie budget on pedestrian movie candy?  If a shipmate brings donuts into work, do you feel compelled to have one?  It’s OK to eat some fatty or high calorie foods in moderation; just realize it is a special treat.  Make every calorie count

Enjoy the Season

Chart your course carefully now so you may enjoy the things that bring the most joy over the next couple of months. Don’t deny the pleasures of the season, as denial will create guilt, anxiety and resentment.  Remember even if your wellness compass breaks or you should go overboard, forgive yourself, and get back into the lifeboat.  New Year’s Resolutions are just over the horizon.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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