No doubt, you should do everything you can to enjoy yourself during the holidays. After all, the season is about spending time with friends and family, giving thanks and spreading joy.
However, if you have health and fitness goals that you’re worried might be compromised by other aspects of the season, like large meals, decadent desserts and lots of leftovers, you might be feeling stressed or worried more than anything else.
Here’s the good news, though: in terms of gaining weight over the holidays, you probably have nothing to worry about. As we’ve pointed out before, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, most people only gain about one pound of weight, if any at all.
Plus, we’ve recently shared a large collection of expert “holiday fitness” tips and tricks that will help you keep your goals on track while still allowing room for you to enjoy all that the holidays have to offer.
And for those who really want to kick their health and fitness goals into high gear before Thanksgiving gets here, Burr Leonard, founder of The Bar Method and Bar Online suggests that you resolve to keep up with your regular exercise routine and healthy eating habits as closely as possible, both now and through the entire season.
Of course, she recognizes that such a task is much easier said than done.
“With all the candy, cookies and pie around, sticking to this plan can be challenging,” she said.
So, in order to make your goals a little bit easier to achieve, she offers the following advice; things you should do before Thanksgiving that will help you stay on track for the whole season.
1. Workout on Wednesday.
November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving, has been declared “Workout Wednesday” by the American Council on Exercise. “Americans tend to gain one or two pounds around the holidays and often don’t return to their previous weight, resulting in the extra pounds adding up over the years,” warns Burr. "To avoid weight gain from the high calorie meals of Thanksgiving, Americans can reserve the day before as a time to be as active and healthy as possible.”
2. Take a break from sugar.
“Sweet foods go straight to your fat cells and make you hungry for more,” says Burr. “Remind yourself that sugar wasn’t even a big part of the first Thanksgiving in the 1860s. People back then consumed less than one tenth of the sugar we do now. So don’t be obligated to load up on sugar cookies and pumpkin pie to honor a tradition of the season. In any case, the less sugary foods you can get away with not putting into your body, the more energy and high spirits you’ll have to dedicate to celebrating.”
3. Sleep, a lot!
“There’s no end to parties leading up to the actual holiday, and we’re expected to go to work however late we stayed up the night before,” says Burr. “Research shows that lack of sleep can cause weight gain by compelling our bodies to compensate for our low energy with more and more food. So, ‘settle your brains for a long winter’s nap’ every night, or sleep in after a late one.