The end of the year is a time of revelry, and with that revelry comes indulgence and over-consumption. The weather is turning for the worst too making riding a bit more difficult because of condition and not wanting to suffer through bad weather. Devising some tactics to deal with holiday weight gain can keep you happier and healthier along with maintaining your fitness through this season that is fun and fraught at the same time.
Indulgence and Holiday Weight Gain
There are sweets at work. There is alcohol at the party. There is a feast at your family’s house. It is hard to handle all the indulgence. Find some strategies that work for you to enjoy yourself but also to keep holiday weight gain to a minimum.
- It is okay to have treats and delicious food. Make sure whatever you are consuming is really worth it and increases your enjoyment of the moment.
- Before going into a situation, set limits for yourself. An open ended commitment to eating and drinking will not end well.
- Be honest with yourself when you are full or you have had enough to drink.
- If there are a lot of options, take small portions so you can get a taste of everything you might enjoy. Then you can make a decision about what you really like and go back for more (if you are not violating the previous point).
- There is no obligation to force feed yourself. Remember that peer and societal pressure is a thing, even when you are an adult and make a conscious decision to ignore the pressure.
- Choose to fill up on the healthier options on offer – vegetables, fruit and other non-processed and less calorie-dense foods. It will make you feel fuller without dropping a calorie bomb in your gut.
- Hydration levels affect your perception of satiety. Make sure you are well hydrated while partying the month away. An additional bonus to good hydration is that it will help you cope better with alcohol in your system.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line to battle holiday weight gain is to keep pedaling or staying active in some way. If you are already riding regularly, find a way that you can continue even as the daylight fades, temperatures drop and precipitation increases. A good set of lights might help to keep you on the road in the dark; nothing beats them to see or be seen. All the high visibility colors and reflectors do nothing compared to active illumination.
When the weather is sure to make you uncomfortable, set up a space indoors that you can ride in on a trainer or rollers that will keep you motivated. You will need a fan and some sort of entertainment. Staring at the wall or your bike computer the whole time sets you up for failure. Music, movies and friends make the time go by much faster.
Prepare a manageable schedule for yourself that you can stick to for your rides. A commitment will keep you on the bike and keep the holiday weight gain at bay. The more you ride, the more you can indulge, within reason of course. If you are lucky enough to have a schedule that allows you to ride more than usual at this time of year, the easier it is to burn off those treats. But beware – those treats do not provide optimal fuel for training.
The winter is also a great time to throw in some other activities to your exercise program to stave off holiday weight gain. Find something that is interesting to you that you may not get to do when it is nice out and you are more committed to riding. Again, make a regular schedule so you can stay fit and keep burning those extra calories you may be eating. The activity could also be a nice mental break from all of the riding; when you come back to riding, it will be fresh and exciting again.
You Already Know
You are already aware of what the end of the year can do to your body. It is hard to handle the indulgence and holiday weight gain if you do not have a plan. Make a plan and try to stick to it. You will be even more committed to the plan if you write it down and tell others about it – this works for anything. This will lead to a happier and healthier season, and that is what it is all about, right?