Wednesday, 27 November 2013

4 Ways to Stay Slim for the Holidays

The eating season is upon us.

You'll see and hear statistics suggesting people gain as many as 10 pounds during the holidays. Likely you won’t put on double-digit weight, but a recent study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that devourers of turkey and Christmas cookies gain an average of 2.2 pounds from mid-November to New Year’s Day. Obese people were even more likely to gain extra weight. 

The problem is compounded because the bulges accumulate over the holidays and the years. 

This season, though, can be different. Here are four steps to avoid the belly-ballooning this holiday season and start January 1 ahead of the game.

Exercise in the Morning 
Instead of losing track of your exercise program among all the festivities, get your training out of the way well before party time. One study from Appalachian State University showed that a vigorous morning cycling workout helped average guys burn an extra 190 calories over the ensuing 14 hours—on top of the 500 calories they burned during the workout. Researchers credit the post-exercise metabolism boost to the workout using more fat and less carbohydrates for energy. (Try this intense 4-minute cardio routine to really kick-up your heart rate.)

Need more motivation to get going Thanksgiving morning? Sign up for a local Turkey Trot. T-Day is the most popular holiday for road racing (676,000 finishers in 2011, according to Running USA, a nonprofit organization that tracks road racing trends) and it’s a great addition to your holiday gameplan. 

Dissect the Buffet 
Whether it’s a work event or a party with friends, there's usually a buffet. Rather than blindly grabbing a plate and heading to the front of the spread, survey the scene first to decide what you really want. Otherwise you'll just heap everything on your plate as you come to it. 

And if you’re the one putting out the food, keep the healthy options together and place them front and center. A new study from Cornell University found that when healthy foods like fruit, yogurt, and granola are offered at the head of a breakfast buffet line, only 39 percent of eaters grabbed higher-calorie dishes like cheesy eggs and bacon. When eggs, bacon, and potatoes were positioned first, 78 percent of people tossed them on their plate. 


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