Sunday, October 23, 2011 • Edmonds, WA 98026-5137

For most, the last quarter of the calendar year (beginning with Halloween) marks a season filled with family, celebration, and (let's face it) FOOD.  It's a cultural norm for Americans to celebrate holidays and special occasions sharing food with those we love.  For many Americans, it also marks the beginning of a weight gain slide that can add up to an average of 5-7 pounds per year!  Yikes!


What can you do to prevent weight gain over the holidays?  BE AWARE.  The first step to combatting weight gain is to be cognicent of what you're eating.  Does that mean you can't eat Grandma's pumpkin pie?  Of course not!  It means that if you eat Grandma's pumpkin pie, you better not skip your workout that day!  Balance your diet with exercise so that you're burning calories and staying on your recommended daily intake to maintain your weight.


Another tip for maintaining your weight over the holidays is to MINIMIZE TEMPTATIONS.  In our house, once Halloween is done, the candy is in the garbage.  Yup, incredibly wasteful - but better wasted than consumed (all that sugar is terrible for your teeth as well as your weight!).  I purposely wait to make treats for potlucks and holiday celebrations until right before the event, and I never bring the leftovers home.  Just keeping the junk and high fat foods less available means you'll consume less of them.  It makes sense!


Remember that alcohol contains almost as many calories/gram as fat!  If you're going to drink, choose your beverage wisely - drinks with sugary mixers will pack on the calories faster than drinks without.  And of course, never drink and drive!


Remember that the holiday season is for enjoyment.  Don't deprive yourself of the things you love to eat - instead be aware of what you're consuming, how much your consuming, and how often you're exercising.  Using an online food/exercise journal can help keep you on track throughout the holidays.  One of my favorite FREE online sites is  You can track nutrition, exercise, and even take part in holiday challenges and find support in an anonymous online community.  Their easy to read bar graph which shows your daily caloric consumption & caloric expenditure (exercise) goals/progress is a great motivator.


LASTLY, schedule workouts and stick to them!  Not only does regular exercise keep your body healthy, it releases stree-reducing hormones that are proven to help you maintain more energy & sleep better!  Have a back-up plan for when holiday schedules interrupt your usual exercise sessions.  Vacationing?  Take some resistance tubes in your suitcase for strength training (or do body weight exercises instead, and/or find a local gym that will let you join with a temporary membership or pay-by-the-class)!  Pack your gym clothes in your car so you're sure to sneak in a lunch-break walk or so you're likely to stop at the gym on your way to/from work.  Family gatherings are a great time for family walks, hikes, etc.  Form a neighborhood touch-football team (multigenerational can be fun!) and hold an annual Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl!  There are so many ways to enjoy an active holiday season with family/friends - you just have to be creative.  If you find you're not able to stay on track alone - it's a great time to team up with a certified personal trainer who will not only hold you accountable, but will motivate you to achieve your healthiest self!


It's also a terrific time to try out new fitness classes - generally speaking the 'fitness rush' happens in January & classes are packed.  If you try fitness classes before the end of the year, you'll be able to find your comfort zone in a smaller group & have an easier time getting to know the instructor.  And while you're at it, don't forget to try my Edmonds City Parks Zumba classes (Tues/Thurs, 10-11am, 700 Main Street, Edmonds) and my Harbor Square Athletic Club Total Body Conditioning class (Thursdays, 8-9am, Edmonds).  These classes are FUN & a great way to stay (or get) in shape!


And if you're considering keeping that Halloween candy around, be sure to check out this link which gives the nutritional breakdown for many popular mini-size candies! 


Wishing you the healthiest & happiest holiday season!