The traditional American Thanksgiving meal is said to contain an average of 3,000 calories, about a third more than the full day’s requirement for most women. With those numbers, you may still be feeling a bit guilty about indulging on that holiday, but the season isn't over yet. A common holiday myth was the average person puts on between seven and 10 pounds over the holidays, but studies have shown it’s actually closer to one to two pounds.
Still, when you’re trying to reverse those numbers on the scale, the last thing you want to see is that needle move up a notch. Of course, you really shouldn’t have to deny yourself all of the wonderful foods the season brings either. Fortunately, there is a solution.
Exercising off the negative effects of too many tasty holiday foods
A new study published in the Dec. 15 issue of The Journal of Physiology found that daily exercising may help reduce the harmful effects to your health as well as the added pounds from overindulging on holiday treats.
Researchers found that in just one week of overeating, all participants experienced a dramatic decline in blood sugar control, and their fat cells were said to activate genes causing unhealthy changes to the metabolism and a disruption in nutritional balance. For those who participated in daily workouts, the negative effects were much lower as compared to those who didn’t exercise.
The lead author of the study said that when facing a period where there is likely to be overconsumption as well as inactivity, their research found daily physical activity can prevent many of those negative changes, even if some weight is gained.
Allow yourself to enjoy some holiday goodness
While you may not want to stuff your face to your heart’s content, allow yourself to indulge in the fun of the holidays to a reasonable extent. You don't have to give up your good health and all of that hard work you’ve put in to lose weight and become fit. Try a few new recipes for amazing Christmas appetizers, and don’t be afraid to allow yourself to dig in either. Creamy, delicious foods like the hot parmesan-artichoke dip or the pinecone cheese spread are just too heavenly to pass up.
Finding time for exercise
Many people are extra busy during the holidays, making it difficult to find time to squeeze in exercise, but it can be done. The assistant professor in the Community and Family Health department at the University of California San Francisco’s College of Public Health advises 30 minutes of physical activity each day, but she says that time can be broken up.
By making little changes such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator and parking farther back in the parking lot at work or at the store, it can all add up to the recommended amount of activity. During your break, or for part of your lunch period, go for a walk and take another one after dinner at home.
Remember all of that cleaning usually done in preparation for a holiday dinner or party also counts, like vacuuming, shoveling snow or scrubbing the kitchen floor. The American Diabetes Association recommends training and participating in a local holiday run or walk. Most communities feature a special New Year’s Day race which is a great healthy way to kick off the coming year. Going for a walk with your family or friends after eating a holiday dinner as well as cleaning up after the meal instead of lounging on the couch watching TV are yet more ways to keep active and burn all of those calories.