Have a healthy holiday

WAG wellness columnist and trainer Giovanni Roselli offers tips for enjoying healthy holidays.

The holidays are approaching once again.  Here are some tips to keep your health and wellness at the forefront:  

Giovanni Roselli.

Work out with a partner. With a buddy by your side, you will be much more likely to get to the gym. It’s easier to bail on your own. In addition, having someone that you have a good relationship with will make going to the gym an enjoyable experience. 

Speaking of fun, you have to find things that you like to do, especially if you are a newbie who needs to get into a routine. There are way too many stories of people “forcing” themselves to the gym and/or to exercise.  How great would it be if you could find some ways to exercise where you would actually be excited about exercising. If you don’t like to work out with weights on your own, try a class with weights if that’s something you would enjoy.  If you don’t want to trudge around on a treadmill, go for a nice walk/run outside. 

Strength train with weights. As we age naturally, our bodies have a tendency to lose muscle. If you diet without exercise or just do cardio as your only means of exercise, you will not be affecting your metabolism in a beneficial way. The old expression is if you are shaped like a pear and manage to lose a few pounds with diet and just cardio, what you will end up looking like is a smaller pear. Performing weight training will increase lean muscle tissue and increase EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption) so your body will be burning more calories even when not exercising. It will change your body composition to be leaner and tighter. Ask yourself: Do you want to lose weight or do you want to lose fat and inches?

Don’t go to any party hungry. One of the worst mistakes people can make is eating too little the day they have a party or event. Eat throughout the day, so when you arrive you aren’t jumping on the hors d’oeuvres and overeating because you are starving. If anything, fill up before the party so when you get there you aren’t tempted to pick, pick, pick. In addition, do your absolute best to get in a workout on that day. Not only will it help with your metabolism and your energy, but it will spur you to eat well as people generally do not want to cancel out a great workout by eating poorly. Also, concentrate on your portions. Yes, unhealthy food options will inevitably be at your fingertips. If you are at a buffet, a good strategy is to choose a smaller plate. Studies have shown that you will ultimately end up eating less.  

Learn from your past holiday experiences. What situations did you find yourself in where you felt you did a poor job in managing your eating? Think about what you can do to anticipate making that outcome different. Remember, the biggest mistake you can make is repeating the same mistake.

Don’t get thrown off by the “healthy” moniker on food labels. For example, a lot of “low-fat” or “nonfat” products are usually loaded with sugar and/or other unhealthy processed products. However, people will have a tendency to buy something that says “low-fat,” “only 300 calories,” “light,” “low carb,” and things of that sort when a lot of these foods are still unhealthy options.

One final tip: There are many ways to achieve success. Be suspicious of people who tell you that “this is the best way” or “you have to do this because it’s the best thing that works.” What may work for some people may not necessarily work for you, and you may not even have a lot of interest in it. Be especially cautious if additional costs are involved and you “have to do it my way because it’s the best way.” Truth is, there are a lot of good ways. You just need to find the best way for you and your current lifestyle.

Reach Giovanni on Twitter @GiovanniRoselli and at his website, GiovanniRoselli.com.

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