I read once that people gain an average of 1 pound every year. The problem with that 1 pound is that it never goes away.
Around this time of year it’s popular to blame that weight gain on the heaps and heaps of holiday food. Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties, and other holiday meals… It seems that the meals are the guilty party.
The truth is that it’s our lack of discipline around the holidays that is to blame for our personal inflation.
You’re seeing tons of articles with titles like Holiday Fitness Tips or some such variation. The fundamental mistake in these “Holiday” tips is that they specifically belong to the holidays. Staying fit and healthy isn’t a short-term activity. It is an ongoing process.
Small Plates Save Guts
Ask any chef or restaurant owner and they will tell you the size of a plate greatly affects how a person sees their meal. When you’re portioning your meal grab a smaller plate.
Studies have shown that people with larger plates pile on more food… and eat more food. Start with a smaller plate and you’ll find yourself grabbing and eating less food.
Seriously Count Your Calories
Have you ever looked at the nutritional information on the side of a food or drink item? Do you pay attention to “serving size”? There is a box of ready-to-make pasta salad in my pantry that I use as an example to people. It’s one of those where you boil the pasta and add in a powdered mix to create the pasta salad.
The nutrition label on the side says that one serving contains 350 calories. A serving size is 1 cup (that’s 8 ounces). A typical can of soda is 12 ounces and has around 150 calories. That means in one 8 oz. serving of this pasta salad you would consume more than twice as many calories as you would for drinking a can of soda.
And Trans Fats Count Too
If you’re aware of the calories you’re probably savvy on trans fats in your foods as well. You might also be choosing foods that proudly advertise their zero grams of trans fat content. But take a closer look at that label and you’ll see that it says “per serving” right underneath that.
In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration made it legal for a company to say that their product has zero grams of trans fat if the actual trans fat content is 0.5 grams or less per serving. Imagine a bag of cookies that advertises “0g Trans Fats” where a serving size is 3 cookies. You just wolfed down 30 of them in one sitting without batting an eyelash. That’s up to 5 grams of trans fats you have just consumed (subject to how much trans fats are actually in what you’re eating). Be aware.
This is the proverbial “food for thought”. When you grab a few slices of the holiday bird and decide to garnish it with a couple of spoonfuls of a side dish, take a peek at the box that dish came from.
With the drop in temperature and the chance that the outside weather may just become downright inhospitable, the likelihood of people becoming increasingly sedentary over the winter season increases as the days go by. Most fitness experts say that keeping fit doesn’t need to involve being at the gym every waking moment of your life. The average recommendation is just 30 minutes of brisk activity at least 3 times a week.
There are easy ways to get a little bit of extra fitness in.
- Go for a walk around your neighborhood.
- When shopping park your car in the back of the parking lot as opposed to as close to the entrance as you can get.
- You can even run in place for several 5 to 10 minute bursts.
Remember, there is nothing different about holiday fitness from normal rest of the year fitness. The hard part is keeping your discipline when that aromatic holiday ham makes its way past your plate. Don’t be afraid to indulge, just be careful not to overdo it.