Posted at 5 p.m. Dec. 12, 2016
Tips to help keep off the holiday weight
The holidays are the worst times to try to stay healthy. With an abundance of everyone’s favorite foods – what can they do? Going into the holidays educated will help.
Resisting the urge to eat as much as is put in front of consumers during the holidays is important for more than just not being able to fit comfortably into that favorite pair of jeans. The average person will gain anywhere from 5-20 pounds.
What do those ten pounds really mean when they are put on other than those tighter fitting jeans? Dr. Bonnie Randolph, a doctor with Banner Health in Torrington, WY says that, “the main thing is that they put the weight on and then they never take it off.” Randolph says that some of the long-term effects of the weight gain include Hypertension, or high blood pressure, and joint destruction. Randolph said that there are certain medications, such as blood pressure medications, that can actually become irrelevant with the loss of ten pounds. When asked about the weight gain, Randolph said, “it’s hard on the metabolism,” referencing the Hypothalamus and the house thermostat. The Hypothalamus is located in the brain that controls things like the body’s temperature as well as thirst, hunger, and aides in sleep function. Basically the fluctuation with weight gain makes the Hypothalamus confused as to what it needs to command the body to do on many different planes.
The big question is how do people stay healthy during the holidays.
“Basically if you’re just starting out, you’ve got a long way to go, and diet is going to be the most important thing,” says Beau Hall, a certified personal trainer with Fitness One. Hall says that when it comes to the sweets and fatty foods, it has to be all about portion control. It’s recommended to find healthier ways of cooking the food too. Instead of grease, opt for something like Coconut Oil. Instead of some of the favorites made traditionally, get creative. When it comes to those candied yams, “instead of having marshmallows in there and all this brown sugar, and stuff like that, usually what I do is I take the sweet potato and blend it up, put cinnamon and nutmeg in there, and then make mashed sweet potatoes,” says Hall. Another method for making sure that those calories do break a diet, Hall said an option is “fasted cardio.” Fasted cardio means doing your cardio early enough in the day that you are exercising on an empty stomach. With an empty stomach, you won’t have any calories in your system to burn and allows you to burn fat stores.
Kierston Mills, a certified personal trainer at Gold’s Gym, has some health tips. As far as keeping the calories down, Mills says that eating something light or drinking a lot of water will help. “Prioritize protein and veggies first, and choose one indulgence,” Mills said.
If someone is just starting out on his or her health and fitness journey around the holidays, Mills says to, “be patient with the process. Even one good choice adds up over time and any movement is better than none. You have to view these changes as a lifestyle versus a temporary quick fix.” If someone has been at it for a while it’s more about maintaining.
As some personal advice from personal holiday habits, Mills says she will put in some extra work the day of a heavy meal as a preemptive strike against the calories to come. Ultimately, eating regularly and staying hydrated are the best ways to prevent over-indulgence.