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Steps to Successful Weight Management During the Holidays

Posted Dec 20 2011 8:28am


The holidays are almost here and the number one question I get from my clients is always (to paraphrase) how can I enjoy the holiday parties and feasts like I always have and still achieve my goal of losing weight?  Of course, the answer simply put is that you can't.  Let's look closer at what I mean.

It's pretty simple.  The definition of insanity is: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  So if you've never lost weight over the holidays before, and you intend on doing the same behaviors over this year, how can you expect to have a different result.  Obviously, you can't.

However, this illustrates an excellent point.  The MOST IMPORTANT PART OF ANY HEALTH AND FITNESS PLAN is...

YOUR BEHAVIOR

I always instruct my clients to create a behavior checklist.  This includes essentially all the daily steps that they would have to take in order to achieve their overall goal.  For example.

So perhaps you already have weight management numbers in figured out for your specific case, maybe not.  Either way, here is an example of a good behavior checklist that you can adapt for your specific situation.

BEHAVIOR CHECKLIST - for avoiding the holiday bulge!
  • Eat a good breakfast within 1 - 1.5 hrs of waking up.
  • Eat at least 2-4 servings (14-28 g on a label) of lean source protein at every meal and at least 1-2 servings (7-14 g) at each snack - This will increase your metabolism as your body has to spend more energy processing dietary protein, so use this to your advantage and spread the work out over your day.
  • Eat at least 30 g of fiber/day (unless restricted by your physician for GI issues).
  • Purposely slow down your eating.  Avoid rapid eating - This is because your stomach transmits a signal to the brain every time it is stretched that tells the brain we are full.  However, this signal takes at least 15-20 mins to reach the brain.  Give it time to reach the brain!
  • Do a minimum of 30 -45 mins /day of exercise x 6 days / week (3 bouts of cardio coupled with 3 bouts of resistance based training has been shown to be best for increasing metabolism).  If your just getting started, start gently and consult your physician first.  Also, if you can afford it, find a QUALIFIED personal trainer who can educate you on the correct movements for your body and to prevent injury over the long term.  Remember, if you are overweight or obese prevention of injury is imperative because of the excess weight on your leg joints already.
  • Eat 8-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily - if you are trying to lose weight shoot for 6-8 servings of non-starchy vegetables and compliment with 2-4 servings of fruits/starchy vegetables daily; also, avoid fruit juice - this will make sure you get all of the beneficial plant compounds known to improve human health while still limiting your calorie and sugar intake.
  • Hydrate properly. It's critical that you achieve your target free water for the day - This will ensure that your body is metabolically prepared to deal with the foods and food types and even the alcohol that you might be exposing it to.
  • Moderation, moderation, moderation - This truly is the mantra of the Dietetics field, and just like in real estate, it's the most important factor. Enjoy the indulgences of the holidays, but do so in Moderation!!!
Again, take these points and create a behavior checklist for yourself.  Monitor your progress daily and check off each item as you "handle" it.  This is empowering, builds momentum and is quite motivating.  Also, if you do not reach a behavior, then you are aware of that and can better figure out what was off in your approach for that day/week.

I hope that you each take something positive and useful away from this/my first post. In case we don't touch base before Christmas.  Have a Happy Holiday everyone!!!

I am hoping to have a goal setting blog for the upcoming New Year to help guide those of you who are looking to set some goals.  My wife and I are expecting our first child Boxing week at some point, so obviously, my timeline for delivery is dependent on that.

Take care everyone!!!

Dan

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