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My Focus on Fitness | Camo Strip (top)
My Focus on Fitness | Camo Strip (bottom)

Stay on Track this Holiday Season – Tips for Keeping Your Figure

The holiday season is a great time to celebrate with your friends and family but it can also be the perfect time to throw your diet, usual workout habits, and your waistline into a tailspin.  During the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, American’s gain on average 3-5 pounds and it isn’t hard to see why.  It only takes 500 calories per day above your normal food/drink consumption to gain a pound. You can give all the holiday parties, eggnog, alcoholic drinks, fruit cake, gift buying stress and candy the credit!  Sure the holidays come and go and people flock to the nearest gym the day after New Year’s with their resolutions of weight loss and healthy eating and some can get back on track with their goals but for some holiday weight gain can result in a lifetime of struggle.  Now more than ever is a good time to focus on a healthy balance in your life so you can avoid a major pitfall come 2012.

Here are my tips to help you ring in the New Year in a healthy way:

First, be realistic with yourself.  This might not be the best time for you to set a weight loss goal but it is a great time to make a commitment to yourself to maintain your current weight.  Continuing your usual workouts will help and I suggest adding extra cardio.  For example, take your tennis shoes to work and take a brisk walk during lunch or add in a jog or bike ride after dinner to enjoy your neighbor’s holiday lights.

Second, don’t make the holiday party tonight your reason for skipping lunch.  In fact my secret to curbing nibbling too much at parties is eating right before I leave my house.  I suggest eating something high in fiber like an apple or pear with a cheese stick, a protein bar, or raw veggies.  I find these snacks fill me up enough and I don’t over-indulge in the goodies at the party.  When you finally get to the party spend some time looking over the holiday spread to find your favorites and forget the rest.  Make sure to add some veggies and fruit to fill in the rest of your plate and if you must dip your veggies I suggest going with hummus, salsa, or the homemade guacamole.  When it comes to the sweets it is important to savor a small portion and by this I mean, grab a seat by the fire, enjoy small bites, and take your time eating.

Third, alcohol…enough said.  Drinking too much could lower your inhibitions and cause you to overeat.  Even non-alcoholic drinks can be packed with sugar and calories so it is important to drink in moderation and of course responsibly.

Fourth, shift your focus from food.  Instead of having your grandkids over to make sugar cookies, plan a holiday craft, serve food to needy families at a nearby community kitchen, or dust off your board games for a game night.

Lastly, the easiest way to ensure you’ll eat healthy at your next holiday party is if you bring something healthy yourself. Here is a recipe that I love to take to parties because it is good on veggies, with pita chips, and is delicious the next day as a spread on my favorite whole wheat and turkey sandwich.  I hope you enjoy and wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

Spinach and White Bean Dip

Ingredients

1 (15oz) can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves of garlic

Juice from 1 lemon

1/3 cup of olive oil, plus 4 tablespoons

2 tablespoons of Balsamic Vinegar

2 large handfuls of fresh, rinsed spinach

Sea Salt and fresh ground black pepper

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