DROP THOSE HOLIDAY POUNDS
BY ERIN MCCARTHY
Most research suggests that the average American will gain one to two pounds over the holiday season. Even as athletes, we are prone to the stress, sweets and inclem- ent weather which can lead to overeating and underexercising. It&#x2019;s a recipe for disaster. One or two pounds may not seem that bad, but the problem is that many people don&#x2019;t ever lose their holiday weight gain. Over a period of fi ve years, that could be an extra fi ve to 10 pounds you&#x2019;re carrying. To prevent the dreaded winter weight gain, follow these tips to get back in shape after the holiday season:
1. Maintain perspective: Overeating one day won&#x2019;t make or break your eating plan. And it cer- tainly won&#x2019;t make you gain weight. It takes days and days of overeating to gain weight. If you over- indulge at a holiday meal, put it behind you. Return to your usual eating plan the next day without guilt or despair.
2. Plan on not dieting after the New Year. Antic- ipation of food restriction sets you up for binge-type eating. Besides, restrictive diets don&#x2019;t work in the long run. T ey increase your loss of lean body mass vs. fat, slow down your metabolism, increase anxiety, depres- sion, food preoccupation, and binge eating, and make weight re-gain more likely.
3. Be physically active every day. Often, busy holiday schedules (or lack of structured schedules) bump you off your exercise training routines. T ink about what you want to train for this year and get a schedule together to plan your activities (triathlon, marathon, cycling races, etc). Aerobic activities (like swimming, skiing, snow shoeing, cycling classes) can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn extra calories from holiday eating.
T e holiday season coincides with the off -season for most athletes. Training is typically reduced at this time, which further increases the likelihood of weight gain. In fact, for the athlete who enters the holiday/off -season at a very high level of fi tness, a certain amount of weight
gain is unavoidable. But what you want to avoid is the common problem of gaining entirely too much body fat at this time of year, which will sabotage your eff orts to take your racing performance to a higher level next year.
Most people can improve their diet. Better nutrition aids health, sports performance and recovery. Staying healthy throughout the off season helps with more consistent training and the quicker you recover, the sooner you can train for longer and higher intensities. If you did fall into the trap of gaining some extra weight during the holi- day season regroup and follow these steps to get back on track for spring training:
Look at food labels for calories One pound (lb) of fat has 3,500 calories.
So cutting back just 500 calories/day can promote a one pound weight loss per week. You can also decrease your calories consumed by 250 per day and increase the amount of exercise an additional 20-30 minutes/day.
Do not drink your calories. It is hard to get full on drinks, and some
beverages have more calories than a snack or meal! So be mindful of caloric drinks and eat calories instead of drink- ing them. Remember alcohol counts too and one glass of wine or one light beer contains 100 calories or more.
Eat at regular times during the day. Research has shown that skipping meals
CALORIE REDUCTION: EASY WAYS TO CUT 100 CALORIES OR MORE
If you cut 100 calories from your daily food intake, you could lose 10 pounds in a year. It is simple to do, too, as these examples prove.
BREAKFAST Replace your morning glass of regular juice with a glass of zero-calorie beverage (Crystal light) Trade &#xBC; cup (C) regular pancake syrup for &#xBC; C lite pancake syrup Try replacing two fl uid ounces (fl oz) of fl avored coffee creamer with 2 fl oz of 1% milk
LUNCH Replace one cup of a cream-based soup with one cup of a broth-based soup Use diet bread to make your sandwich (Arnold&#x2019;s Sandwich Thins) Skip the cheese on your burger, sandwich, or salad Trade a 6-oz cup of yogurt with fruit on the bottom for a four-oz cup of greek yogurt (Fage)
34 JANUARY 2011 MYCHICAGOATHLETE.COM
DINNER Make your tacos with 3 oz of grilled chicken breast, instead of 3 oz of 85% lean ground beef Replace either smoked pork or beef sausage with either turkey or chicken sausage Replace 2 tablespoons (Tbsp) of salted stick butter with 2 Tbsp of a reduced-calorie spread (Promise or Smart Balance lite)
Choose &#xBD; cup of black beans, instead of refried beans, when preparing Mexican food
SNACKS Munch on a Vitamuffi n or Skinny Cow, instead of one big chocolate-chip cookie Use &#xBC; cup hummus, instead of French onion dip, for your raw vegetables or pretzels Replace half of the oil in your favorite recipe with unsweetened applesauce Trade your regular buttered popcorn for light microwave popcorn
Visit these websites for free reduced-calorie and reduced-fat recipes: www.fo
will not help your waistline. Eating actually promotes metabolism and controls hunger.
Control your portions. Skip that last bite of food if you do not
really need it. With a little practice you can take one look at a plate and see how many servings you have on it. For example, one portion of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards. A medium potato is about the size of a computer mouse. If what you eat is double or triple standard portions, you are eating double or triple the calories you need.
Fat free does not mean calorie free. Low-fat products are typically lower in calo- ries, but not all of them. Check the calories on the label.
STEP 5: STEP 6:
Write it down Research has shown that people who write
down their food intake have better control over their weight. Writing down everything you eat will let you see how much you are taking in. You may learn a little about yourself and how to better control your intake.
Take those extra steps. Every step you take burns a small amount
of energy. When it comes to weight management, re- search has shown that walking for 10 minutes three times a day is just as eff ective as walking 30 minutes once a day. No amount of time is too small to take a quick stroll to burn some calories.
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