Worried About Holiday Weight Gain?

"Did you get fatter again?" one of my clients told me she asked her husband as he put on a newly purchased pair of pants for the office.

Yes, some of us try to sneak new clothes in after the holidays so that others don't notice our latest indulgence in food. That can be one strategy.

But the bad news is that somebody is going to notice. And in the end you will no doubt realize yourself that you need to do something to prevent building more fat tissue around those most critical and desired regions of the body: for gentleman, the beloved six-pack, and for the ladies, the perfectly thin arms, hips and legs.

Nobody said it's easy to keep the pounds off at the end of the year. The holiday season is quite a tough time, with food to the left and right.

"Why don't you come to my holiday party?" your colleague asks, and all you can think is, "Oh God, what can I eat there," or "Maybe I can make an excuse not to go."

You end up going, of course, and after a glass of wine you will no doubt relax.That's when the real damage begins.

Even though the food offered will wreck your diet regimen, healthy choices are sparse at best. Suddenly, you find yourself bingeing on all the foods that are offered. After all, why stop when you've already started, right?

Packing on the Holiday Pounds

The general belief is that Americans gain between five and nine pounds between Halloween and New Year's Day, but that may be an exaggeration. A study conducted in 2000 by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Diabetes suggested that Americans, on average, gain only about one pound during the winter holidays.

But this weight gain accumulates over the years, possibly contributing to the overall weight gain someone experiences in the course of a lifetime.

When I conduct measurements every four to five weeks to track the success of my nutrition and exercise program for individuals, I notice that it can be much more than one pound of weight gain. The most I have seen was six pounds in a period of four weeks.

Also, I need to mention that I am on vacation from Dec. 25 to Jan. 1, leaving my clients to fend for themselves. Although I instruct in great detail (with my Austrian time management skills) on how often clients should be exercising and what they should be doing while I am gone, the opposite is usually the case.

"I feel like I am playing hooky when you are not here," I have heard many times.

The central issue is that many will be eating more and exercising less. The result? Weight gain. Simple as that.

Solutions for Creative Exercise

Sure, we all know about very basic exercises, such as walking, running or biking. Everybody talks about them. So let's talk about solutions that you not have thought about:

Solution 1: Make your environment your workout

If you live in a high-rise, those fire escape stairs can be quite a long distance, straight up. Run up them to the top and walk back down. This is a great way to not just burn a large amount of calories, but also to strengthen your cardiovascular system.

Solution 2: Fight with your kids.

No, not verbal fights. Use them to play with their body weight. Come up with games. Have a competition between you as a parent and your child. And don't just let the kids win. There is a lesson to be learned in losing as well.

Solution 3: Wii Fit

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