Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Stay On Track During The Holidays

by: Eduardo Lorenzo

Ok so the holidays are just around the corner (heck it’s already here!) and you need to keep your guard up if you plan to stay healthy and if your goal is to keep losing weight and getting fit.

Undeniably during these times you will eat more than often, and may I presume more of what you know you shouldn’t, but hey who can say no to family and friends…

So what you need is a plan to keep you at the very least on top of your game. There are many options to have healthy meals during the holidays, but I won’t get into meal recipes here. Tammy has already posted some great recipes we can all benefit from and I sure know she has something in store for the next couple of weeks.

So my goal today is to remind you of some simple things that if done right and consistently will help you avoid the pitfalls of holiday eating. This way when January comes up, you have no guilt feelings and instead of having: “lose weight” as your #1 goal… it could be stay fit, go extreme, do something new!

Things to keep in mind:

  • Consume whole foods that are high in fiber and low in sugar such as lean protein (lean beef, chicken, fish, and whey protein), fruits & vegetables (oranges, apples, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, peppers, asparagus, carrots, nuts (almonds, cashews, & walnuts), and whole grains.
  • Eat low-glycemic carbohydrates such as vegetables, whole-wheat products and oatmeal instead of refined processed carbohydrates which usually come in a box or a bag.
  • Eat some type of lean protein at each meal. Protein helps to satisfy hunger and provide the necessary building blocks to maintain lean body mass while losing body fat
  • Don’t overeat. Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food. Eat meals. Cut out snacking, stick with structured meals.
  • If you have gatherings during the week… plan ahead your meals for the rest of the week. This way at the very least you ensure that you will eat properly 75 to 80% of the time. Hey – something is something.
  • Go easy on alcohol…. One or two drinks a party here and there won’t spoil your progress, but don’t over do it.
  • EXERCISE!! You can lose weight by just following a nutrition plan on its own but very few succeed at it and it takes much longer than when you eat properly as well as exercise. I am not talking about just getting on a treadmill for 30 minutes every other day. Though you can lose weight this way, it is not the most efficient use of your time, nor is it maximizing the ability to burn calories. The most effective way to lose fat is by strength training or some type of interval training utilizing strength training and cardiovascular exercises. A properly designed program can burn more overall calories in 20 minutes than 20 minutes on a treadmill. Also, the X factor in all this is that you will burn more calories per minute hours after you finished strength training because of the EPOC effect (Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). Static exercise on a treadmill doesn’t produce this X factor.
  • Don’t forget your food journal. You will be amazed at what you consume and not even realize you did it until you right it down and reflect back on the day. Keeping a food log is critical to your success because if modifications need to be made you need something to be able to evaluate and analyze. If changes aren’t happening like you had hoped the answer can usually be found in the food and or exercise journal, plus it makes you more accountable of your actions.

There it is! Just remember to let yourself have some fun, balance is necessary in life. Enjoy!

I’ll post a few extra reminders and tips to help you stay on track and keep your waistline down during these next few weeks.

Let me know how it goes and if you have questions or issues. I’ll post my responses by e-mail and on this post.

Author: Eduardo Lorenzo, NASM-CPT specializes in sports performance, injury prevention, corrective exercises, physique enhancement, Boot Camp and weight loss programs.

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