It’s hard to believe, but the holiday season is almost here. And while this pandemic may make Thanksgiving look a little different from years past, one thing is still for sure: There will be no shortage of eating.
Heaps of holiday helpings have a way of sticking around the waistline long after the decorations come down. Especially because the calendar creates a calorically catastrophic combination of food-centric celebrations in a short time span.
Halloween opens it with loads of sweets. And often, we continue to snack on our secret stash of leftover candy. Then comes November and December’s fattening, festive fare. And this year, it might be tempting to indulge more than normal to reward ourselves for coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
With this knowledge in mind, it’s only logical to implement a wellness plan that stops the weight gain train from visiting popular destinations such as the stomach and hips. And, luckily, it’s a much easier task than you’d expect. Follow these helpful healthy habits leading up to Thanksgiving:
Work on your wellness. Because we are often eating, drinking, and lounging more often during the holidays, it’s important to enter the season as your healthiest self.
Stay hydrated. Loading up on water is your best ally for warding off unwanted weight gain. Not only does it satiate your appetite, it also helps to flush your system of toxins that lead to bloating. Aim for eight glasses a day, and when possible schedule your sip session before each meal.
Be a picky eater. We are at the precipice of pigging out. You can almost taste that gravy-glazed pile of mashed potatoes and pecan pie. So why spoil the fun by indulging in fattening foods in the days leading up to the big meal? Before Thanksgiving, your meals should consist mainly of lean proteins such as fresh fish, chicken, lentils, eggs, and nuts. Prepare these without butter or sauces to save calories, opting for extra virgin olive oil, instead. And pair these bites with a hearty portion of greens and whole grains. Use this time to practice self-discipline until you reach that glorious, food-filled finish line.
Consider a calorie deficit. If you’ve been struggling to lose those last pounds, now is a good time to buckle down. The safest way to create a calorie deficit is by cutting out sugary snacks and sodas. By eliminating the unnecessary, empty calories from cake, ice cream, or even a morning bagel with cream cheese (which can be a whopping 500 calories), you’ll quickly start to shed the weight, and you’ll have more energy, too.
Exercise every day. This time of year can be hectic, so you’ll want a routine that’s to the point, and hits all the major muscle groups responsible for burning the most calories. For the circuit below, all you need is 20 minutes and a yoga mat. Repeat the circuit three times with minimal rest between exercises to keep your heart rate elevated and ensure maximum benefits. Let’s get started:
Knee-based push-up twist
From a prone position, pop up onto your hands and knees so your body forms a straight line from head to knees. Your hands should be shoulder-width apart. For extra support, prop a towel beneath your knees.
Bend at your elbows to lower your body toward the floor. Hold for two counts, then push through your hands to return to the starting stance.
Stay steady as you elevate your right arm, twisting at your torso to extend it overhead. Your gaze should follow your arm. Hold for a count, then lower your arm back down. Alternate sides for a total of 16 repetitions (eight a side).
From the same prone position, rest your entire body on the mat, with arms extended out from shoulders.
Using your back strength, pull your left arm, right leg, head, and chest up off the floor. Hold for two counts, then lower. Repeat the same movement but with the right arm and left leg. Continue alternating for 20 total repetitions.
Stationary lunge rotation
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bring your hands behind your head and lace your fingers together.
Take a step back with your left foot and lower into a lunge, with your front knee stacked over ankle and back knee below hips. Once balanced, slowly twist your torso toward the right then back to the front and stand, bringing your feet together. Repeat eight times, then practice on the right leg, twisting to the left this time.
Perform 25 jumping jacks. Once complete, rest for 60 seconds.
Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more about her virtual training program, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.