Enjoying your holidays without packing on the pounds

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Diving into the holiday season lean and leaving the holiday season leaner would be the best gift ever. Diving into the holiday season lean and leaving the holiday season leaner would be the best gift ever. There would be nothing more amazing than getting very fit and making personal me time throughout the holidays so that you come out even better in the New Year.  Well, how is this possible when every year you gorge your way through the holidays and make the same everlasting resolution; to drop your holiday weight?  Here’s how, Jenn Zerling, fitness expert and author of Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools, dishes her top tips on enjoying yourself during the holidays without packing on the pounds.


Follow these top 5 tips now to avoid the holiday weight gain:

1)  Change your exercise routine.  Find something new and exciting so that you feel challenged in your workout, keeping you focused so that you can get better at the new routine.   When you have something new, it keeps things fresh and exciting, motivating you to want to show up for it regularly.  Remember; get in a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week without fail.

2) Start planning your “treat” days in advance.  In other words, like I write in my book, Breaking the Chains of Obesity, 107 Tools, tool #18 states that you should eat junk food twice a month.  Don’t feel bad about it when you, but simply get back to optimal eating right away.  Look at your calendar now and plan those treat days in advance so that all other days remain ‘en point.’

3) Buy your New Year’s Eve outfit now so that you fit in it 3 months from now.  As farfetched as this may seem, you will be forced to behave well during the holidays because there is nothing worse than not fitting into your cute New Year’s Eve outfit.  If you wish to lose a few pounds today, then get your New Year’s Eve outfit right before Thanksgiving, which can foster the same results for remaining on track for the holidays.

4) Cut out all high glycemic carbohydrates for the next 3 months.  Even though I recommend eating a low glycemic diet anyway, if you truly commit to it, your body will feel leaner and your cravings will diminish on this plan, decreasing the likelihood of picking candy or cookies up from the company kitchen.

5)  Choose a holiday buddy; someone who shares the same lifestyle goals as you.  Perhaps someone else doesn’t want to pack on the pounds this holiday season, and you can hold each other accountable.  Call each other each week for a weekly chat and debriefing session. 

You can even consider running a 4th quarter healthy holiday challenge for the whole office.  Make it a friendly competition to keep everyone lean and fit during the holidays.  For example, for the holiday parties and office meetings, all food must be low glycemic, and each member must announce how many minutes of physical activity they did so far for the week, no matter when the meeting is held.   You can even have posters up in the kitchen that depicts water intake, exercise minutes, or something else that you decide might keep people motivated through the holidays.  Consider pooling $25 each person so that at the end of the quarter if everyone hits their goal, then that money treats the group to a night out of bowling and fun which is excellent for team building.


Things to do throughout the holiday season:

Once these tools are in place, and the holidays come, you can rest assure that you will remain on track if you follow these three tools:

1)  Eat before every holiday party that you go to.  If you go very hungry, you will eat out of proportion to what is right for you, leaving you feeling bad after.  If you eat a healthy meal prior to the party, you will most likely reduce your calories overall at the party.

2)  It is always best to do intervals before going out.  Not to encourage anyone to drink or party, but if you know that you might be off your plan, then do a high intensity interval program to rev up your metabolism for the night.  Even though bad eating will never be good, at least your metabolism is better equipped to burn through those additional calories compared to if you didn’t exercise prior.

3) Make sure you get enough sleep.  Many times your blood sugar and insulin levels are more erratic if you fail to catch your zzz’s. This will significantly increase your cravings the next day, making it very hard to resist that candy cane or ginger man cookie.  On average, you should get at least 7 hours of good sleep each night.

For more information on Jenn Zerling, visit her website at jzfitness.com/