Battling the Holiday Binge
By Jed Nitzberg
Reviewed By Gary Vogin
Dec. 24, 2001 -- You do your best to stay in shape all year long -- sensible diet, regular trips to the gym, a good mix of cardiovascular workouts and weight training, along with regular meditation and calming imagery for stress reduction.
Then come the holidays, and your fitness lifestyle gets smothered under a torrent of big meals, sinful desserts, and plenty of alcohol. By January, your body is waving a white flag of surrender.
According to Liz Applegate, PhD, a nationally-recognized expert on nutrition and performance, and faculty member in the nutrition department at the University of California, Davis, one of the longest-standing love/hate relationships going is the one between us and our holiday festivities. After overindulging, we feel bad, almost shameful.
She offers a four-step plan to prepare for holiday bingeing without checking yourself into a weight-loss boot camp afterwards:
Adopting a kinder attitude toward holiday eating will also help you recover from overeating. You'll be less likely to punish yourself with fasting or some other harsh weight-loss scheme.
Plan on getting back to pre-holiday form over a period of at least a few weeks. That is, take off a few pounds by using a rational, step-by-step approach. Setting a course of gradual weight loss is better for your body and the results will be more lasting.
Instead, modestly shave off calories by cutting back on portion sizes at every meal. You can easily cut a few hundred calories each day to make up for all those holiday treats.
Applegate stresses that an important, but often forgotten, benefit of exercise is that it makes you feel good. Things can be pretty dreary after the party's over and the only friend dropping by is the mailman, delivering those post-holiday bills. When you really need it, there's nothing like a good workout to sooth the soul.
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