Friday, December 22, 2006

Secrets for Not Gaining Weight During the Holidays

It's said that calm comes before a storm, but for people wanting to lose weight or get into better shape, the last few weeks of the year are the storm before the calm. The period from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day can be one long binge of parties and family dinners, followed by the obligatory pledges of healthy living including promises to start eating right and join a gym.

Trying to lose weight during the holidays is insanity, most nutrition and fitness gurus would admit, but some are taking a more moderate position: enjoying the holiday cheer but making a point of trying to maintain one's weight during the holidays. For me, traveling to visit family means plenty of downtime in airports, which I take advantage of by walking from terminal to terminal. It doesn't give you the same benefits of running a race or playing raquetball, but walkng at a moderate pace can burn about 120 calories in 20 minutes.

As many trainers and fitness experts agree, the best way to get in shape is to combine aerobic exercise with weight training . Even though you may not be able to make it to the gym during the busy holiday season, you can certainly find the time to do a few sets of strength training with a set of dumbells or a barbell. Weight training builds greater muscle strength and mass, which require more energy to maintain than less-developed muscles. So your newly strengthened body will actually burn more calories even as rest than it did before.

So forget about trying to lose weight during the holidays, or going in the opposite direction and just letting yourself give in to the orgy of overindulgence. Try to maintain your weight and then, come the new year, you can make good on those resolutions to improve your diet, exercise more, and join a gym or fitness program.

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