Weight/Diet & Hoidays- Part 2

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Yesterday I talked about scheduling, planning & staying positive as ways to get through the next couple of holiday months.... OR all year round in my book! I discussed planning ahead, scheduling workouts on your daily planner, getting back to business right after the party or get together, making time for you and most importantly, not getting down on yourself!

Today I just want to talk a bit about if you are trying to continue to lose weight through the holidays versus maintain (which is a good thing too with all going on). OR maybe you want to tighten up or lose 5 pounds for that special party or occasion. There are ways to get through the holidays in tact and lose weight too if you put your mind to it & are willing to do what it takes to get there. If that little black dress (or men, that "little black suit" OR dress if you prefer ) you want to wear is that important to you then stop all excuses & try some of the suggestions below and START NOW. Hey, if nothing else, this will keep you going on into the new year with good health habits!

1. Up the intensity of your cardio workouts! Now, I mentioned this yesterday but let's take it a step further. If you have not been pushing yourself lately (and you know who you are) or you have been doing the same ole thing, now is the time to push it! NOW, when you do this, work into it... don't go from doing 6 speed on the treadmill to 8 without working your way there.

  • You can try to do the same workout in a shorter amount of time OR add some time to your existing cardio if you have been lax at that or have the time to do that.
  • If you are walking on the treadmill, try walking inclines OR jog some, walk some, jog some, walk some.
  • If you are already jogging, try some incline jogging if your knees & joints will go for that (you will have to do this at a slower speed than flat jogging). Incline walking will also work you if you have not done that but just did flat jogging.
  • Outside, try the jog/walk combo OR find some hills to walk or bleachers/stairs to climb.
  • In the gym, try a different machine. The act of just pushing yourself on a different machine will definitely work you! If you do only one machine, try to do 3 different ones in the same workout to change it up & make that bod guess at what you are doing to it!
  • Do intervals. You can do this on any cardio machine or at home. Here is an example on intervals using rate of perceived exertion for a beginner. You can modify for yourself. Here is another good article on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) for more advanced people.
  • Break it up: If you need to do 2 or 3 sessions of 10-20 minutes throughout the day, do that. 

2. Up the intensity of your weight workout! If you are not doing resistance training, start!

  • Circuit train by moving from one exercise to the next with minimal or no rest in between the exercises. You can do this by working different muscle groups in the same workout so that you are not going from a bicep to a bicep exercise but maybe a bicep to a tricep to a back exercise.
  • OR you can do one upper body & than a lower body move throughout the whole workout.
  • OR you can do compound exercises which train multiple muscles at the same time vs. isolation ones that just train one muscle. For example, dumbbell or barbell shoulder presses for shoulders & triceps OR push-ups and dumbbell or barbell chest presses for chest, triceps & shoulders.
  • OR you can do things like a dumbbell squat to overhead shoulder press or squat with bicep curls OR stiff legged deadlift with a barbell or dumbbell row for legs, back and butt. There are many variations to this theme!
  • OR you can do active rest by doing a quick couple minutes of cardio in between sets of exercises either using the machines, jump roping, high knee-ups or even do some core/ab work. All of these are going to up the intensity of the workout.

3. Another form of circuit training again if you are short of time. Let's say you have no time for the cardio you want to do, do the above last bullet weight workout with that quick couple minutes of cardio in between sets of exercises either using the machines, jump roping, high knee ups, skipping or anything that keeps the heart rate up and just keep moving for 30 minutes straight if you have the time!

4. DON'T FORGET that you can break up your workouts into mini ones 2-3 times a day if that is needed to get it in! Up the intensity for these shorter workouts. Do some weights & high knee-ups during commercials or even in the kitchen while you are cooking. Try the hip hop abs routine from my previous post.

5. LET US NOT FORGET THE FOOD!!! You knew that was a coming! We all know that food is at least 70% of the equation so if you want to lose those 5 pounds to look your best in that special dress, you are going to have to watch the food! No way around this. Things you can do:

  • Change your ratio of protein/carbohydrates/fat. You don't have to do this long term but during this time, you may want to up your % of calories from protein, lower the carbs just a bit & eat more of the veggies/salads but less pasta, bread, rice & those more starchy carbs. Keep your healthy fat in there though. Try for that 20-30% of calories from healthy fats.
  • Try to eat more of your carbs earlier in the day & keep the later day to protein & more of the water rich veggies like asparagus, cucumbers & such.
  • Drink your water no matter what!
  • You may want to cycle low carb days with moderate and/or higher carb days. On the lower carb days, you need to keep up that lean protein, healthy fats & drink the water. These changes keep the bod guessing! Just for this period, maybe 3 low carb days, a higher carb day & back to moderate to low. Find what feels best for you.
  • Always get right back to business after a splurge or party. Try to eat super clean as outlined in the first bullet above with a bit more protein & less starchy carbs. Also up the workout before and/after to clean out the bod AND drink your water to flush out the crap!
  • If you want to get into that dress (or suit), stay away from the splurges until you get past that special party! If you "mess up", back to business right away as outlined above. Also, a couple days before the little black dress event, stay away from foods that may bloat you like broccoli, beans, chewing gum or whatever does that to you. This is just sort term for "that dress".

6. As mentioned yesterday, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT GET DOWN ON YOURSELF! We are all human so if you splurge or splurge too much, just get back to business & remind yourself of how far you have come, how much you have accomplished & what the end goal is & do not deter from that!

What do I do to get through the holidays? Most of the above & yesterday's post too. This is what keeps me at my weight & sometimes I have even lost weight over the holidays. But I tend to do this year round anyway. I do:
  • Plan ahead for food. This is an every day thing for me anyway AND I bring my own food if I want to... not tons but a little something that is right for me.
  • I think about what I would have to do to work off whatever I am eating too much of!!! If it ain't worth it, I don't eat it!
  • I never miss my workouts! If I have to change days & work out on a day I normally don't, I do that. If I have to go in a bit earlier than normal, I do that. No matter what, I find a way to get it in there.
  • I up the intensity if I need to cut short my workout time.
  • I get back to business right after any "totally enjoy time". I do the super clean eating thing if necessary & I drink my water.
  • Me time for me is the gym. I love the weights so that is me time for me!
  • I pick & chose what is most important for me to splurge on. I DO NOT EAT EVERYTHING IN SITE AT THE PARTY! I pick a couple things I really want & stick to that. I try not to eat things that really do not matter to me. Everything can be "calling out to you" but try to pick 2 or 3 that you would most enjoy. OR, if you can, a bite here & there IF YOU CAN STICK TO 1 BITE OF MULTIPLE FOODS!
  • In general, I just try to stick to my normal every day program and if I want to let loose more, I do as previous, eat super clean right after that to clean out the bod.

As always, pay attention to your body. Keep proper & correct form with exercise & if anything feels wrong or hurts more like an injury hurt vs. just working harder than normal.. stop. And as mentioned previously, don't go from nothing to all out. You need to work into it so that is why I say start NOW.

And if you are waiting for the new year, now is as good a time as any!!!! NOW IS THE TIME! As Abbey from the biggest loser said, "You can choose differently. Today is your second chance!". Hey, why not start today!!!

So, anything to add to this list? I know you all have great strategies out there. Share them with us!


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  • 10/29/2009 1:51 AM Kellie - My Health Software wrote:
    It is such a shame that food is 70% of the whole picture. Thanks for the reminder.
    It is such a trap to think, I'll start to eat well after the holidays, party or Xmas. There is always an excuse that you can come up with. I love your 'Now is the time!'
    Reply to this
    1. 10/29/2009 6:06 AM Jody - Fit at 51 wrote:
      Excuses are what get us in trouble! We can still enjoy but survive it if we plan & don't feel like we have to eat every thing put in front of us! Good luck!
      Reply to this
  • 10/29/2009 3:22 AM MizFit wrote:
    I wanna just in and just play devils advocate here for a moment

    (I know I know. I caint help myself) 99% of the time I urged my clients to focus on maintaining during holidays and not on loss.

    I urged them not to change anything (skipt workouts , use anylittlethang as an excuse to overeat etc) and often they did LOSE WEIGHT but emotionally I wanted to set them up for success so that if at the end of the holiday season they hadnt lost an OUNCE they werent disappointed which could lead to self-sabotage.
    Reply to this
    1. 10/29/2009 5:23 AM Jody - Fit at 51 wrote:
      Oh, Carla, I agree... that is why I mentioned just maintaining is a success. I was adding this in for those that want ways to continue on the weight loss OR want to get into a special dress for a special occasion.

      Like you mentioned, I stick with my every day plan thru the holidays & weight maintenance is the goal for sure....
      Reply to this
  • 10/29/2009 4:45 AM Diane Fit to the Finish wrote:
    For me, I always lost during the holiday seasons as they passed by during my weight loss year. I continually did what I had been doing and did lose.

    I like your ideas of cardio workouts intensifying and working with weights in a different way. Those really will work!
    Reply to this
    1. 10/29/2009 6:10 AM Jody - Fit at 51 wrote:
      Diane, we are in agreement.. continue to do what you are already doing.. if that is eating sensibly & exercising!

      Like I said & MizFit reiterated, just maintaining is a good thing during this crazy time.

      If you want to do more than that, plenty of options to doing that as well in the post.
      Reply to this
  • 10/29/2009 6:02 AM Dr. J wrote:
    Sounds like a perfect system to me, Jody!

    Maybe I have my Mr. Meanie costume on today, but if someone is repeating the same failure to get through the holidays each year, and then starts the same cycle over again and again, with ever increasing poor health, it IS time to get down on yourself, and do something about it!
    Reply to this
    1. 10/29/2009 6:07 AM Jody - Fit at 51 wrote:
      Dr. J, very good point! I just was saying to Kellie that excuses are what get us in trouble so your point is well taken & I bet FJ will chime in too & say the same thing!
      Reply to this
  • 10/29/2009 6:41 AM Crabby McSlacker wrote:
    Great suggestions! I love the way you come at it from all different angles.

    My goal around holidays is to have as much fun as I can with as little damage as possible. I tend to alternate festive splurges with more virtuous meals. And I try not to slack on the exercise--it feels more fun to indulge when I feel like I deserve it.
    Reply to this
    1. 10/29/2009 10:02 AM Jody - Fit at 51 wrote:
      Crabby, I love your thought process!
      Reply to this
  • 10/29/2009 8:18 AM Elaine wrote:
    Thanks for these posts. Lots of great info and ideas here.
    Reply to this
  • 10/29/2009 8:31 AM Extreme Fitness Results wrote:
    I think that the Tabata Protocol is perfect for the holidays, a short, massively intense lactic acid churning and muscle burning 6 minutes that you can sneak in between the turkey and dessert. Increasingly I'm all about the anaerobic exercise, and less about the long distance jogs or hour long cycling exercises.
    Reply to this
    1. 10/29/2009 10:06 AM Jody - Fit at 51 wrote:
      Extreme Fitness, thx again for visiting & for your suggestions! People are short if time this time of year so this is a good thought process for those that can handle it!
      Reply to this
  • 10/29/2009 8:57 AM Amanda4Sensei wrote:
    I love these suggestions - they are right on the money! The holidays are definitely a tough time when it comes to weight management and exercise....great ideas for keeping yourself balanced! Thanks!!
    Reply to this
  • 10/29/2009 10:04 AM Jody - Fit at 51 wrote:
    Elaine, thx & thx for visiting!

    Amanda, yes, let's try to stay balanced!
    Reply to this
  • 10/30/2009 4:55 AM Sunny wrote:
    Great article. The tips are really solid. If we'd all follow them, we'd be much better off. I esp. like number 6. I struggle with that one. But, you're right!

    Reply to this

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