Each and every year I am bombarded with friends, family, and clients who want to lose the “holiday pounds” and follow through with their new-years resolutions. Most have gained anywhere between 5-15 pounds in the short Holiday Season; and rarely achieve their new year’s resolution to get fit and healthy.
This year, I’m encouraging my fitness clients: “Maintain, Don’t Gain”.
This philosophy is not suggesting weight loss during the hectic holiday period, instead it’s implementing a maintenance period of activity and total body weight. This provides the caloric cushion most desperately need, while limiting potential fat-gains.
My client’s are seeing much greater success following this method, and yours can too! Here’s how:
1. Encourage home-workouts if clients are having a hard time getting into the gym when the weather is harsh. Some physical activity is better than no activity! The goal here is to help your clients find ways to stick to their routine, regardless of the dark and bleak weather.
2. Allow your clients to eat roughly 100 calories above or below their Total Daily Energy Expenditure. This will allow them some small indulgences here and there without encouraging heavy restriction and binge-eating. In my experience, especially during the holidays, the more your clients can consume on a daily basis, the less likely they are to consume thousands of calories at Holiday Parties or Festivities.
3. Encourage your clients to fill up on proteins, fibrous vegetables, and whole grains before reaching for the pie. When attending a party or pot-luck the calorie content of many food items is unknown, in these situations I encourage my clients to fill up on the “healthier” food choices before slathering side dishes in sauces or gravy as well as the pies, cookies, and cakes that are found in abundance. These foods can still be enjoyed in moderation, however!
4. On the “Big Day” like Christmas or New Years, the concept of Intermittent Fasting may help your clients stay on track. Note: this is only suggested with clients who have a healthy relationship with food, we don’t want to encourage binge-eating whatsoever. In any case, your clients may significantly limit their calories on the holiday itself simply by IF-ing. Limiting calories to a short period of time will help limit the all-day grazing that’s all too common.
5. Stress the importance of “letting it go”. It’s pretty common to feel guilt and shame after eating copious amounts of food. Encourage your clients to acknowledge that it happened, but to let it go! A simple slip up can result in “oh well, I’ve already messed up anyways” behavior. By letting it go, they can decide to start over right here and now, not tomorrow or next week.
We have 365 days a year and even if we celebrated every single “national” holiday and cultural holiday like valentines, Halloween, our birthday and our significant other’s birthday….. that is still only 18 days a year or 4% of our total year. Our physical fitness and body composition is a direct result of our consistent habits over long periods of time, the holidays don’t have to mean weight gain!
Instead of spending the first few months of the new year trying to lose the “Holiday Weight”, let’s keep stay on track towards our goals!