Exercise or personal fitness is key in controlling your weight during the holidays.
Let’s face it, there’s a good chance that cakes, pies, cookies, cupcakes and other yummy treats are finding their way into your kitchen and workplace.
Even if you weren’t active most of the year, it’s time to get up and move!
You can’t expect to control your weight unless you’re physically active for at least 30 to 60 minutes per day, five or more days per week, reports the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.
Maybe you’re saying, "I don’t have time now — it’s the holidays. I’ll start in January."
Why wait to be great? If you wait, you might regret it and there may be more pounds to work off. Now is the time to start.
So how do you get started or maintain your current physical activity regimen during this busy season?
Here are some tips:
Plan your day around your exercise time. Think first about when you’re going to exercise and then schedule everything else. Put your exercise time on your calendar so that it’s a priority.
If you haven’t been active recently, do less than you think you can at first. You don’t want soreness to discourage you from exercising again the next day.
Recruit an exercise partner. Consider choosing someone a little more fit than you are so you’ll be inspired to work a little harder. You can then encourage each other to keep on going when the excitement of "starting something new" wears off.
Put on your tightest outfit at least once a week. This will help you to see immediately if the pounds are packing on or if you’re getting firmer.
Develop a plan for staying active in a variety of situations. What will you do if you’re traveling? Walk the airport concourses? Choose hotels with good fitness centers? Take a break every two hours while you’re driving to walk around and stretch?
How can you exercise inside if the weather is bad? Do you have exercise DVDs? Can you do some yoga or martial arts? How about jumping rope?
What will you do when you work overtime? Can you walk at lunch and during your breaks? Do you have a treadmill or other exercise equipment you can use before or after work at home? Is there a 24-hour gym in your community?
What will you do if your exercise partner isn’t available? Do you have a back-up partner? Can you play with your kids? Is there an exercise class you could drop in on? Can you just exercise by yourself?
Finally, make a physical activity goal. Post your goal in several places. Put it on the refrigerator, the bathroom mirror, in your locker at work or on your desk. Track daily how well you’re doing and give yourself small, non-food rewards each week if you meet your goal at least three or more days.
Don’t let the stress of the holidays destroy any hard work you’ve already accomplished and don’t let it be a reason to give in to all those treats passing under your nose.
Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. Contact: 770-535-8290. Her column appears biweekly on Wednesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.