On Your Health

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Exercises to Burn off a Holiday Treat

It’s the holidays, and the holidays always come with a LOT of food. Holiday treats are everywhere. Add travel to the mix and it’s the perfect storm to throw off your fitness goals.

Starting around Thanksgiving and lasting through the new year, all the calories from holiday treats can add up. The average person gains approximately one pound over the holidays. That's significant when you learn the average annual weight gain for most people is two pounds, and most never shed those two pounds.

If, after the holidays, you don’t add extra workouts or maintain a stricter diet, those pounds will continue to tack on each year. In fact, holiday weight gain can be blamed for half the weight people gain as they get older.

Staying healthy over the holidays

Many people look forward to holiday food all year, and it’s okay to splurge a little. But, the key is once you’ve had your holiday treats, be sure to jump back into your normal healthy routine. It’s all about balance and planning for when you’ll indulge. For example, leading up to a party, you can eat healthy, well-balanced meals and exercise to counteract the extra calories.

Workouts to burn off those treats

Before you grab a second cookie or extra cup of eggnog, it’s helpful to know just how many calories are in each treat. Seeing how many calories are in your favorite foods can really put things into perspective.

We’ve put together six quick exercises you can do no matter where you are this holiday season to help you burn off an extra holiday treat you might have indulged in.

*Calorie burn calculated for a 150-pound woman.

holiday treat exercise infographic 

How to eat healthier over the holidays

Being healthy around the holidays works best with a plan. If you are heading to a party later in the evening, eat a healthy snack with some good protein at your regular mealtime.

Determine which indulgences you want before the party so you won't mindlessly fill your plate with every delicious treat once you're there. When you get to the party, have a small plate of the food you like best and then move away from the buffet table.

Remember to eat slowly, enjoy your foods and only reach for seconds at least 20 minutes after finishing your first plate if you're still hungry.

Finally, make sure to watch your alcohol intake during events, and make sure to increase your water intake to stay properly hydrated.

If you are hosting a party or attending a potluck, you can bring dishes on the lighter side. For more information read the On Your Health blog called Eat a Little Healthier This Holiday. Here are some additional suggestions for lightening up your holiday cooking.

  • Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy.
  • Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.
  • Reduce oil and butter wherever you can.
  • Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes and casseroles.

The holidays are a time for traditions, family and festivities, so don’t stress out worrying about your diet. Make a simple plan to counteract your splurges, and keep these exercises in mind to burn off some extra calories.

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