Archive for Holiday Prep

JANUARY 1st: DON’T DO IT!

Now that it’s the middle of December, this is a perfect time to talk about my least favorite 4-letter word: DIET. If you’ve been reading my posts, you will know that I don’t like diets simply because they don’t work. I promise you that if they did work, I download.pngwould feel differently. This 4-letter word might be floating around in your brain as we head into the holiday season, knowing that January 1st is just a few weeks away.

This past year, several of my clients decided go down the diet path—some of them went on Weight Watchers, others chose different plans. Not surprisingly, all of them lost weight. Not surprisingly, all of them re-gained some or all of the weight back. Long-term weight loss happens only when you make real lifestyle changes. My clients who have done that, have been successful.

So, what’s the difference between the two? A diet is a plan that you follow but has some built in restriction that prevents you from sticking to it long-term. I have two issues with this:

  1. Diets mess you up mentally: Failure leads to frustration, self-loathing and in some cases, obsessing over food and what to eat.
  2. Diets mess you up physically: When you start to lose weight, while there is fat loss there is also muscle loss. Muscle mass is what keeps us strong and metabolic. Often times, especially on a low-calorie diet where weight loss is rapid, there will be more muscle loss. If you abruptly go off the diet and re-gain the weight quickly, there will be fat gain. After all is said and done, you might weigh the same, but your body composition could have changed leaving you with more fat and less muscle. Who wants that? NOT ME!

Lifestyle changes are set up for you to do them forever. There is more freedom, no restriction, and no rigid time frame. Realistic small changes are made and once the first change seems easy, you move on to the next one.  If something doesn’t work, you tweak the process and figure out what will work. Lifestyles changes are dynamic.  They evolve over time and change since aspects of your life do as well.  The goal is to make behavioral changes that become a way of life, not something you do temporarily.

While lifestyle changes are gradual and fluid, you won’t be successful unless you are committed to making a long-term investment in yourself. This is not easy. However, obsessing about weight, going on and off diets, gaining and losing weight, is its own special kind of hell. I don’t want that for myself or for any of you! My advice? Instead of starting a new diet, take a moment to think about what you want, and what you are willing to do.

 

 

 

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KEEP CALM AND JINGLE ON

If you are reading this blog it means that you have survived Thanksgiving. Congratulations! It also means that we are officially embedded in the holiday season. This translates into more exposure to treats, parties, treats, stress, treats, crowds, treats, shopping, treats, family, treats, chaos.

It is so easy to get caught up in all of the holiday eating. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that January 1st is right around the corner so you’ll rein it in then. It’s not. It’s a full month away and you can do damage in 30 days if you’re not careful.  I’ve seen this pattern with many of my clients: The holidays bring a few extra pounds that, come January, don’t come off. This is not a problem if it weren’t recurring. However, several years down the road, you might find yourself shocked to be 10-15 pounds heavier. This weight gain is sneaky!

While it will be harder to eat healthier during this time, you can do it. Thanksgiving keep_calm_and_jingle_rustic_holiday_party_invite-r1ec2da3de3334414b7f618dae591eb41_6gd4r_140.jpgwas just one meal. One party is just one party. Christmas dinner is just one dinner. If you are more vigilant at your very next meal, you will walk away from the holiday season unscathed.

Many of my clients find that they eat healthier when exercising consistently. This holiday season, JINGLE ON! (Think of it as the holiday word for exercise.) If you keep calm with your holiday eating and jingle on, you won’t be stuck feeling overwhelmed in January!

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AN ALPHABET OF RESOLUTIONS

I’m not a huge fan of New Years Resolutions because I think we need to be constantly tweaking ourselves. However, here is a fun alphabet list. Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2019!!!

A: Add more fiber to your dietdownload.jpg

B: Be more social

C:  Cook more often

D: Drink less alcohol

E: Exercise consistently

F: Fill your plate, at every meal,  with protein, fat and lots of veggies

G: Get on the scale once a week to prevent a “shock” at your annual physical

H: Have more sex

I: Insist on being heard

J: Jump, dance, skip, hop, run, skate, play

K: Keep moving

L: Lift weights

M: Mediate

N: Notice how food makes you feel

O: Order a food service to make cooking more convenient

P: Put yourself FIRST for a change

Q: Quench your thirst with WATER

R: Rest and sleep more when your body tells you to

S: STRETCH!

T: Try not to get in  your own way

U: Uncover what’s holding you back

V: Visualize yourself achieving a goal

W: Workout with a trainer

X: X out destructive relationships

Y: Yield to other ideas

Z: Zip to a local exercise class

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IT’S NOT DECEMBER—IT’S JANUARY 1ST!

It’s December. Thanksgiving is a recent memory and we are all in the heart of the holiday season. This means we will be exposed to more treats, drinks and parties. There are temptations everywhere. So many of us succumb to it all, knowing that we will figure it all out and get down to business when January 1st rolls around.  The problem with this, is that we can do a lot of damage in between.

The new year, is similar to Monday—the day that we choose to “start over”. This mentality is engrained in our brains but it doesn’t have to be that way. Today can be your Monday and today can be your January 1st—you don’t have to wait to make small changes that will make you feel so much better right now.

A few of my clients decided to do this–to start now–and I can see that they feel download.jpgempowered and energized. Some are watching their diets and some are embarking on a regular exercise routine. They are approaching this holiday season in a steel suit of armor. While they may not lose as much weight as they would like to,  or be as consistent  with exercise, they will certainly do damage control!

If you have been out of sorts and are looking to get serious, do it now. Today is Monday! Today is January 1st! Don’t wait to feel better…..you can feel great today!

 

 

 

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DECEMBER IS THE NEW JANUARY

Well, December is here which means holiday music everywhere, crowded malls, more traffic and yes, weight gain. This is the season to pack on the pounds. We swiftly adopt the “to-hell-with-it-I-will-deal-with-this-in-January” attitude. The problem is, when we set our January goals, we often lose our resolve somewhere in mid-February.  Those extra pounds stick around and perhaps there are a few left from the previous season(s).

Isn’t it funny how we create calendar rules for ourselves? We “let loose” in December,  and try to REALLY fix it in January. (And start on a Monday, of course).

December doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, I am working with a few clients now who are actually losing weight in December. Sure, it might be more challenging at times, but with a little planning and thinking ahead, you will be fine:

Going to a party? Bring something healthy: Make a giant salad or a vegetable dish that you honeycrisp-apple-cranberry-pecan-blue-cheese-mixed-greens-salad-thanksgiving-christmas-recipe-by-five-heart-home_700pxhorizlike. Not only will you have something healthy to eat, your own dish could act as reminder to stay on track.

Don’t skip meals to save calories for later: Skipping meals, in an attempt to save some calories, never works. Once you get too hungry you will most likely overeat and do way more damage. In fact, I recommend just the opposite—never go to an event too hungry.

Watch the alcohol: Don’t give me that look—I didn’t say NO alcohol, I’m suggesting to simply watch the quantity. I’m not as concerned with the calories in alcohol as  I am about the eating behavior that accompanies the alcohol. (Doesn’t cheese taste so much better with wine vs. water?)

Have buffet rules: If you’re at a party that has a buffet, set a one-trip rule. Load your plate up ONCE with as much healthy food that you can find.  Eat as slowly as you can to make that last.

Plate size matters: If you are hosting a party, use smaller dinner plates. Studies show that using them will make you eat less. (Your guests will love you for it!)

Plan a treat: Don’t deny yourself everything. See what goodies are at the party and decide, ahead of time, what you’d like to have and enjoy it.

Changing your attitude about December might make a huge difference. If you do, January will be a breeze!

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A SMART RESOLUTION

Well, it’s that time of year. We’re all thinking about ways to improve ourselves as we set a new year’s resolution. Setting goals can be tricky and you need to keep them SMART.

I wish I could take credit for SMART but this is something that I learned when becoming a personal trainer. Whenever you set a goal, the goal needs to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Notice the difference between these goals:

Goal One: I want to get fit.
Goal Two: I want to lose 10 lbs in 2 months

Let’s take a closer look at goal one. What does “fit” really mean? Does it mean that you want to be able to run marathon or does it mean you want to walk up a flight of steps without losing your breath? “Fit” is very ambiguous and not measurable. Notice that there is no time frame on this goal and because “fit” isn’t defined, this goal is going nowhere.

Goal two: Losing 10 lbs in 2 months is very specific. This is something we can measure and is attainable as a healthy weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week. With the right diet and exercise counseling this is a realistic goal set within a time frame. It’s going somewhere for sure.

So think about this when you’re pondering lifestyle changes and setting goals. Be SMART about it!

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BRACE YOURSELF FOR THANKSGIVING

Well, now that Thanksgiving is only two days away we have to brace ourselves for the beginning of the holiday season, which seems to be two months endless indulging. People often put on weight during this time of year. If you gain a few pounds, it’s not a big problem if you then lose it starting in January. The issue occurs when you don’t lose it, which often happens. As you know a no-big-deal 5 lbs over 4 years sneaks up on you and before you know it, you’re 20 lbs heavier and think to yourself “How did this happen?”

Here are a few tips during the holidays:
·       Watch the alcohol—it’s not simply the calories in alcohol that will pack on the pounds, it’s the eating behaviors associated with the alcohol that will do it. Everything seems to taste better after a few drinks, doesn’t it?
·       Be mindful of your portions. A ½ cup of stuffing, or sweet potatoes with butter and marshmallow is not going to do much damage. A giant MOUND is a different story.
·       If you’ve been thinking about exercising but haven’t been able to get going, now is the time to start—don’t want until January. If you increase your exercise while increasing your portions, the exercise will definitely do damage control.
·       Be a taster: If, for example, you’re faced with a table full of delicious desserts, have 1 taste of everything instead of one full serving of everything.
·       Try to change your attitude about the way you approach special meals. Often, I hear people say “Oh, I can’t wait to pig out for Thanksgiving”. There is a huge grey area between limiting yourself and having a huge binge. There is nothing wrong with eating more indulgent foods as long as you watch those portion sizes.
·       And speaking of those special meals……….don’t make the mistake of fasting all day for that one big meal. Inevitably, you will overeat even more.
·       If you are going to someone’s house and have volunteered to bring a dish, bring something on the healthy side. Try a new vegetable dish or bring a salad. This way you will know that there is a healthy option for you to turn to.
·       Finally, you might want to weigh yourself weekly during the holiday season just to check in and see what’s going on. It might be just what you need to keep things under control.

Remember—it’s perfectly fine to relish this time of year and to enjoy all the delicious treats. If you watch your portions but still gain a few pounds, that’s ok, too. But if it does happen, have the mindset that you will do something about it sooner rather than later.

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