Fitness Couture – Five Ways to Defeat Holiday GuiltBy Anthony Heredia | December 2nd, 2009 | Category: 2009, December 2009, Health/Fitness | No Comments »
Happy holidays, Agenda readers! We made it through Thanksgiving, but we’re not out of the seasonal woods yet. The holidays typically take a toll on our health and waistlines due to our busy nature this time of year. Fitness seems to take a back seat these days. It’s easy to enjoy an eggnog or two at a friendly gathering or indulge in one too many sweet treats only to justify it with the promise of extra fitness time later. No worries, as I am not here to scold you but to give you some fitness insider intelligence that will dispense with much if not all that holiday guilt. There is nothing wrong with taking time to enjoy the holidays and all the sweet treats as long as you are willing to keep a balance and pay back your holiday fitness debt. Here are five tips to give you an edge in the holiday season.
Tip 1 – Slowing Down Sugar Bombs
What certain goody is synonymous with the holidays? Sugar! The problem with sugar is that concentrated amounts cause havoc on our systems by ruining our skin, causing false hunger, false cravings, mood swings, increased fatigue, and mental fog. Sugar, when concentrated, shoots into our blood stream quickly, like a Rhino charging through a crystal boutique; so slow the beast to reduce the damage. A great method for calming the negative effects of sugar is to combine it with fiber, sugar’s arch enemy. Add soluble or insoluble fiber when having sugar and you dramatically decrease its destructive capabilities. Fiber when taken about 15-30 minutes prior to your sugary treats will make a world of difference.
· Powdered Fiber
· Psyllium husk
· Whole/Multi Grains
· Legumes (such as dried peas, beans, lentils)
Tip 2 – Triple the Fitness Burn in 1/3 the Time
So you don’t have the full hour to devote to being in the gym or even working out at home, but I know you can spare 20 minutes. In order to reap an hour’s worth of results from 1/3 the workout time, you must push hard, no complaining. Go straight into your favorite workout routine, but take only 30-second to 1-minute breaks when needed and push about 20% harder than you typically would. Is it worth it? I’ll let you decide. You just might love that extra push and keep it up. Now that would be great. For more details on this type of hard, quick training, look up “Interval Training” or wait for my next article on how it works in our next issue.
Tip 3 – Burning Calories While You Sleep
Did you know that when you incorporate resistance (weights) into your workout, your metabolism is naturally heightened by about 30% for the next three days? After you do your cardio routine, your metabolism is naturally heightened by about 50-70% for the next few hours and then returns to normal. When you weight train to the point of feeling a light soreness, your metabolism revs up to repair the positive damage you have occurred, making you stronger. That light soreness burns about 30% more calories while you sleep–yes, while you sleep. Pick up some weights and push hard enough to feel a light soreness/burn that will make up for a lot of those holiday guilty pleasures.
Tip 4 – Decrease Stress to Increase Weight Loss
Stress is all around us this time of year and is hard to shake even with all the festive red, green, and white all around. Stress increases cortisol, which is a basic primal hormone that puts our bodies in defense/survival mode, telling our bodies to hold onto fat and gain some more in self-preservation. “What should I do?” you ask. Well, your best combatant against stress is relaxation and fitness. Get yourself to a spa and enjoy (trainer’s orders). Get to the gym. A short 20-minute cardio session is more than enough to dramatically reduce cortisol; 20 minutes is all you need if time is short. Sex is another great stress reliever if you enjoy a certain workout partner. Please avoid the most common of all short term stress relievers, though, sugary and refined bad foods.
Tip 5 – Mental & Nutritional Prep to Curb Overeating
There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating great food during the holidays. The problem stems from how much of it we indulge in. Sugary and highly refined foods release small, short term amounts of endorphins into our system–the feel good hormones–which is why you always want more. This is also a prime reason that we associate fond memories with sugary bad food. Unfortunately, we subconsciously eat more and more, trying to keep that initial feeling only to be left stuffed with massive calories and not feeling happy at all. Remember that it’s the atmosphere and the people that make you happy, not the food itself. If you truly love the food, then remember that it’s the flavors that have you so enamored and not the quantity. Enjoy the food slowly, and stop once you know you are feeling satisfied. Bad food is usually the culprit for overeating because it is good fats (omega-3s) and fiber that inform our bodies we are full. Most bad foods are low in both and are calorically dense. If you want to make sure you eat properly, eat about 60 calories of walnuts or an omega-3 food about 20-30 minutes prior to your meals. Studies have shown that it takes about 60 calories of good fats to trigger the natural satiety center. This small act will keep you from overeating as your body will tell you much sooner that you are honestly satisfied. Enjoy the family, friends, loved ones, memories, activities, tasty foods, and all the holidays have to offer; but control the guilt and calories, and your health will thank you deeply. Happy holidays Agenda readers!