I had a media request for holiday stress ideas this week and thought you may find them helpful as well!

1.  Don’t starve yourself before a holiday meal.

The idea of “saving up calories” for big meals by starving yourself can actually make you put on more weight.  When you don’t put enough glucose in the body it goes into starvation mode, which means your body wants to hold on to as much fat as possible.  Guess what will happen when you’re in starvation mode and you eat an enormous meal?  The extra calories will be stored as fat.  Starving yourself or skipping meals also stimulates the stress response, which releases hormones that make us store more fat around the midsection.

Eat light and eat often!  If you know a huge meal is inevitable, eat light, small meals and snacks the day before and up to the meal.  You can cut back on calories and eating a little something every few hours keeps your body from going into fat storage mode.

2.  Be realistic about weight loss during the holidays – tread weight instead.

Instead of trying to lose weight for the next several weeks, how about adjusting goals to simply not gain?  For the short term, be realistic about weight loss goals.  There’s food everywhere – the office, parties, family gatherings, you name it.  Make it your goal to tread weight and not let holiday weight gain happen to you.

Putting too much stress on yourself to lose weight at this time of year can backfire.  The added stress releases hormones that make us crave sugary, fatty foods and trigger the body to store more fat around the midsection.  Additionally, we may get so upset about one slip up that we just give up, go crazy for the holidays and worry about losing weight January 1st.  And we all know how well New Year’s Resolutions work…

3.  Make exercise non-negotiable, but adjust expectations for the short term.

Make a commitment of at least 10 minutes of exercise each and every day – that’s it – 10 minutes.  PowerHouse Hit the Deck allows you to get BOTH your cardiovascular AND your resistance training done at the same time in 10 minutes or less.

This can be a busy time of year, but it’s all the more reason to stay committed to your fitness plan because:

  • You’ll have more energy to get everything done.
  • You’ll sleep better and wake up more rested and refreshed.
  • You’ll be more resilient to stress.
  • You can prevent holiday weight gain.

4. Turn it off!  Everyone’s short on time, so cut back on watching T.V.

The average American watches 4+ hours of television each day.  What could you do with the gift of 4 extra hours?  Besides, while you’re watching TV you’re being bombarded with food commercials and you’re not expending much energy – it’s a recipe for weight gain.

Use that time for getting things done, connecting with others, or better yet, doing things that help you recover from stress.

5.  Go easy on alcohol.

Alcohol stimulates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis – the central command station for the stress response!  Alcohol triggers the stress response and releases cortisol.  It interferes with the quality of your sleep, can sap your energy for the next day, and leave you more vulnerable to stress.

It would be hypocritical of me to tell you not to drink at all – I love a glass of wine or cocktail.  Strive to find a healthy balance where you get to enjoy the flavor, the social aspect of sharing in holiday revelry, and keeping yourself healthy and resilient to stress.