The Hidden Calories of the Holidays and How to Deal with Them

Have you been dreading the holiday season since it might thwart your efforts to stay fit and active? Some people joke about bringing their stretchy pants with them to Thanksgiving so they can eat as much food as possible.

The holidays are fun with the family and full of good food, but staying active is still important. The typical Thanksgiving includes a lot of food, drinks and watching TV or movies—not a lot of activity.

Here are some tips from David Walker, health fitness specialist program chair at the Globe UniversityMadison West, who can help deter those extra holiday pounds.

Staff and students working out in our health fitness lab.

“The key with the holidays is to have a little bit of everything and have a full plate, but not an overflowing plate. Do not eat fast; eat slowly, because if you eat too fast, your body will not have time to tell you when you’re full. Try and have conversations and save room for dessert because you will most likely eat dessert no matter what.”

He also warns, “Beware of your liquid calories such as alcohol and other high-caloric drinks. Try and drink water instead.”

Exercise also needs to be incorporated into your holiday routine before and after big meals such as Thanksgiving dinner.

“Try doing a workout DVD or lifting before you eat so your body will have stored energy and room so the food will be stored in your muscle and not as fat,” states David.

“Also, after dinner or the next day, it is important to exercise. Even though it is cold outside, there are plenty of places indoors to find some exercise. Some ideas include walking around the mall, going to the gym, going for a swim at a hotel swimming pool that has day passes, or any way you can find to be active.”

David also gave some suggestions for exercise moves. “A few moves that could be good to do around the holidays include squats, push-ups, step-ups, walking the stairs, chasing your kids or cousins around and mountain climbing.”

Interested in learning more? There are many gyms and nutritionists in the Madison area that would love to help you with your goals and eating habits.

Have a safe, happy and healthy Thanksgiving!