IN THE REHAB ZONE

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Staying Healthy Through the Holidays

Retailers like to call it the ‘holiday season’ but let’s be honest, its “weight gain season,” and it runs from Halloween straight through to New Year’s.

It’s here—whether you’re ready or not.

The next couple months will bring ample opportunity for you to expand your waistline. Of course the choice is yours. We can discuss it now or midway through December? But now is your opportunity to plan for the weeks ahead. Once the craziness begins, you’ll be too busy to put a plan into action. So let’s take this moment of clarity, this calm before the storm, to outline a two-part plan that will save your waist from unwanted holiday inches.

Part One: Your Exercise Plan

Exercise is the first thing people cut when they get busy, and the holiday season is notorious for empty gyms. This year do something different — obligate yourself to exercise. Promising to yourself won’t do it, you need to promise to others so that you won’t drop the ball

  1. Sign up to work with a Personal Trainer.
  2. Join a class – You won’t be as effective exercising on your own during the busy holiday season, so join a class for accountability. Find something challenging that gets your heart rate elevated and uses strength training.
  3. Get a serious exercise buddy – Some friends can be an awesome help while others end up pulling you down. When looking for an exercise buddy consider the following questions:

– Do they share your fitness goals?
– Are they fairly encouraging?
– Do they give up easily?
– Are they at your fitness level?

Part Two: Your Diet Plan

The holidays offer ample opportunities to indulge, so you need to hammer down some guidelines before hitting that buffet line. We’re not saying that you shouldn’t indulge in any seasonal treats, but use moderation. Don’t use the holidays as an excuse to eat until the point of being uncomfortable – will you really miss that bloated feeling? Decide which treats to cut out this year.

  1. Don’t bring edible treats to the office or to parties. You know that the leftovers will come home and you’ll end up eating far more than your share. This year do everyone a favor by not gifting fattening treats.
  2. When faced with a buffet line, load your plate first with greens, vegetables and lean meats before breads and heavier foods. Also drink water with your meal and keep alcoholic beverages to a 2-drink maximum.
  3. Beware of holiday drinks – most are brimming with calories. Hot drinks from coffee shops, cocktails at parties and creamy eggnog are all very enjoyable and all filled with empty calories. Stick with hot tea or unsweetened coffee.
  4. Everywhere you go during the holiday season brings you face-to-face with a plate of sweets. To avoid being a bore but without adding inches to your waist, try the one treat rule. Each time you’re in a social situation that involves sweets just eat one, and enjoy your treat slowly.

You don’t have to gain weight this holiday season. The key is your mindset. If you approach the holidays with the mindset of, ‘I deserve to indulge and I shouldn’t have to exercise’ then you’ll enter next year a few pounds heavier, a little less healthy, and with lower energy than ever before. We believe that you should enter next year in better shape than you are today, healthier than you’ve been in a long time, and with more energy than you thought possible.

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