Between the turkey, potatoes, stuffing and mouth-watering desserts, it’s easy to get caught up not only in the spirit of the holidays, but also in the food. For many people, this results in unwanted weight gain. While staying fit during the holidays appears to be a daunting task, it actually isn’t as intimidating as it may seem.
Moderation is the easiest way to stay in shape over the next few weeks. I know this is easier said than done because when you’re sitting around the table, eyeing all the food, it’s tempting to load your plate up right off the bat. When your plate is overflowing with food, you feel obligated to eat it all. You overeat, get bloated and feel uncomfortable.
Here’s the thing to keep in mind: that food isn’t going anywhere. Start off small. Take only one or two slices of turkey as opposed to four, take one scoop of potatoes as opposed to three. If you’re still hungry after that, take another slice of turkey and another scoop of potatoes. Keep your plate small and eat slow, this way you know when you’re full and you don’t feel guilty about leaving leftover food on your plate.
Inevitably, exercise plays a role in maintaining weight or even losing a couple pounds. Exercise is a broad term that doesn’t necessarily mean running a marathon or spending hours at the gym. Bundle up and go on a 20-minute walk through your neighborhood, or get the family involved in a football game. Sign yourself up for a race that takes place in January or February; set a training schedule and stick to it. At Rider, we’re a half hour away from Philadelphia and about two hours away from New York City. Get a couple friends and walk through the city to check out holiday decorations. You’ll be so caught up in the atmosphere that you won’t realize how many calories you’re burning.
Channel your competitive side with friends or family. See if your gym offers a holiday weight loss challenge, and if they don’t, talk to someone about setting one up. If you’re not a gym member, start a similar competition with your friends or family. Try having everyone put $10 in a jar. On Jan. 1, whoever lost the most weight wins all the money. It doesn’t break the bank, and it even gives you the potential to profit.
After Thanksgiving break, we’re all going to come back to school armed with various containers filled with leftovers to keep the holiday going for another week or so. While there’s nothing wrong with leftovers, don’t enjoy them to the extent that you did on Thanksgiving. Follow portion sizes and make sure you’re hitting all the food groups, even if that means supplementing your own fruit or vegetables.
Staying fit during the holidays isn’t as scary as it seems. There are many ways to exercise without it feeling like work, and you don’t have to give up that extra plate of food. As long as you don’t gorge yourself at the table and then spend the rest of the night on the couch watching football, you’ll be fine. Moderation and movement are key.
Senior history major
Printed in the 11/15/17 issue.