The holidays seem to start earlier and earlier every year. Not just the shopping, the eating too.
For anyone trying to lose or maintain their weight, it's a time of quiet terror. It always was for me. That is, until I figured out the formula. Now every holiday season I lose two pounds and still get to indulge in all my favorite goodies. There's no need to deny yourself a taste of those things that come but once a year. Go ahead and indulge. The key word here is indulge -- not over-indulge. You can still lose weight, and not by magic or drugs or extreme exercise. If you have a relatively normal metabolism, you can lose weight by following a simple formula supported by research at the Mayo Clinic.
This video lays out the formula. Remember this formula is an approximation and varies from person to person.
Here's the same formula adding in holiday goodies
· One lb = 3500 calories.
· That 3500 calories over seven days = 500 calories a day you have to eliminate by not eating them or exercising them off.
· Find the calorie count for the foods you'll eat on the Internet.
· Try eating 300 calories less each day. Smaller portions should take care of this.
· A rule of thumb for exercise is a half-hour of cardio, like brisk walking or jogging = about 200 calories, depending on body weight and effort.
· If you start now you'll be used to the routine by the time the goodies come around. It should be easier to eliminate those extra calories too.
· Let's say you'll eat about an extra 2000 calories in stuffing, pie, cake and cookies etc. during the holidays.
· Break that down over two weeks. 2000 over 14 days = 143 extra calories a day to get rid of in addition to your 500 a day.
· So during the holidays you need to not eat or exercise off 643 calories a day.
· Here's where stepping up the exercise to 45 minutes or an hour for those two weeks can buy you those extra calories and keep you on track to lose one lb a week.
Once you've crunched the numbers, applying this formula is simple. You just need to eat and exercise smart.
If you're the host and cook, it's easier to go light and offer delicious reduced calorie choices. But, dining with family and friends is another matter, especially when you love their cooking. The upside to holiday eating where you've eaten before, maybe for years, is that you have an idea what to expect and you have a chance to plan.
Planning your meals and exercise in advance is a good idea. It simplifies your choices when you're confronted with lots of food.
Whether you count calories, points, or eyeball your portions, eat half of what you think you should eat. If you are not sure of a particular food or treat, pass on it, or just take a bite to see if it is worth the calories. If you find yourself hungry after all of this, you can eat a little more or maybe you've actually saved room for that dessert.
You'll know what's worth the calories and what not to be tempted with.
This video shows you the method I use. Check it out. It may help you get organized.
As for exercise, I try to err on the side of a little extra around the holidays. I start picking it up a couple of weeks early so I have some extra calories clicked off in advance and I don't have to knock myself out to hit some calorie count.
Don't go crazy with this. Moderation is the key. If you find you're not up to the two-lb weight loss this year, use the formula to maintain and shoot for weight loss next year.
If you manage to do this during the holidays, it can set the tone for your behavior going into the New Year, and that could prove very healthy indeed.
Happy holidays to you and yours!