Limit snacking, divide workouts to avoid holiday weight gain


As the semester ends and students begin to de-program from all of the stress of finals week, fitness and exercise often get pushed to the back burner. However, there are ways everyone can stay fit and slim over the holidays.

Rob Jewett, owner of Absolute Fitness and certified personal trainer, has several ideas to battle the bulge over Christmas break.

1. Determine your fitness level

It is not a good idea to try to do too much, Jewett said. For example, if you don’t usually work out, start small with body weight exercises and light jogging. If you are more experienced, try some weight training or push-ups.

2. Don’t set unrealistic workout or diet goals

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is difficult to block off large amounts of time to work out. Workout time can accumulate, meaning three 10-minute workouts are equal to one 30-minute workout, he said.

It is unrealistic to assume you will not eat when there is delicious holiday food available. Rather than eating chips and dip, snacks that are available throughout the year, eat more seasonal snacks that are not available year-round, Jewett said.

3. Identify areas in which you can be more active

Parking farther away at the store, taking a few extra laps at the mall, and drinking more water are great ways to maintain fitness. Usually when students go home, they eat more fast food than they do at school, Jewett said. Look for healthier menu items or avoid those types of restaurants all together. Avoiding the extra fat and calories is much easier than losing them after they turn into fat.

4. Don’t skip meals

Many people skip lunch or breakfast in order to save room for the dinner. This actually has the opposite effect, as the body slows the metabolism to preserve food, making you less hungry later in the day, Jewett said.

5. Control drinking and snacking

The holidays are great times to see old high school friends and family. Most of these reunions take place in social settings where alcohol is involved.

For those who like mixed drinks, Jewett suggested drinking diet soda rather than regular. Caffeine-free and lower-sodium soda also is better than regular.

Snacking is another leading cause of weight gain over school breaks. At holiday parties, snack food is often available. Since some snacking might be unavoidable, Jewett suggested trying to eat less than usual.