Avoid Holiday Weight Gain!

bachelorette party

Photo Credit: Jonathan Wherrett

Eggnog, cocktails, Christmas cookies, cakes, hot chocolate, holiday parties, dinners... 'tis the most festive (and my personal favorite) season of the year!

Our social calendars are beyond full, and with so much more on our plates, it’s easy to let your exercise routine be the first thing to go out the window (along with your waistline).

But please, refer to line one of this article (re: excess amounts of decadent food and drink)! It is at this time of year that I believe it is most important to stay on top of that workout regimen — not only to combat the holiday weight gain but to beat stress and not feel guilty about all the indulgences (yes, I encourage you to soak it up; it only comes once a year). So enjoy it, just learn how to navigate so you don’t roll into the new year at your heaviest (not a good start).

Plus, don’t you want to look and feel your best at all your holiday parties? That’s right ladies, feel empowered to break out that firey red dress! And for the men, bulging guts are not jolly unless your name is Santa.

In honor of the season, I put together a four-week Get Hot for the Holidays Series. Each week in December, when you subscribe to my channel, you will get a new recipe or Fit Tip video on Tuesdays and a new Holiday Workout on Thursdays. It is my goal to keep the ARfit community the fittest and most festive group of people out there!

Without further ado, here is workout one of the four-part series. Complete all exercises in the circuit (total of 300 reps), and feel free to record your time below the video here, then repeat and see how your time compares! And don’t forget to share it from the rooftops on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube – let’s rally, ARfits!

To help you follow along, here's a breakdown of the workout:

30 Burpee Stars
30 Frog Jumps
30 Plank Scissors (30 each side)
30 Plank Jacks
50 High Knees
30 Total Body Crunches
20 Hindu Push-Ups
50 Jumping Lunges

Some nutrition tips to keep in mind at holiday parties:

The lower the alcohol content, the fewer the calories! AR Quickie Guide: Younger, lighter wines, such as Rieslings, Rosés, and Vino Verdes, are often lower in alcohol content, and so are champagne and sparkling wines. Reds tend to be higher in alcohol, with exceptions, of course (most often the lighter reds are lower in calories, such as Pinot Noirs). Personally, I love a glass of champagne or proseco, which is surprisingly your lowest calorie (and most fun) bubbly choice.

Don't be afraid to drink. I believe everything in moderation; turning down social events or a nice cocktail simply to control your waistline is not the answer. Think about the skinny French women! It’s not the moderate cocktail or glass of vino that is killing your figure. I’m all about living your best life, which means enjoying the pleasures but finding the balance. My favorite trick: Add some sparkling water to your champagne or wine. This will extend the life of your drink while also keeping you hydrated!

Don’t skip meals. Many people forgo eating before parties because they figure it will balance out their overindulgence later in the day. This tactic sets you up not only to make poor food choices because you’re so hungry, but also to overeat later on. If you arrive to a celebration with a stomach filled with good foods, you’ll be less likely to overindulge or make poor food selections.

At a family-style dinner or buffet, try to be the last person to get your food. Take less once you are there — you can always go up for seconds. By being the last one to sit down with your food, you will feel like you have more food than everyone else, who may then be halfway done with their meals.

► To avoid snacking and munching temptation, simply pop a piece of sugarless gum into your mouth. This works well when you're cooking or when you're trying not to dive into the buffet.

Avoid dairy products. They are had to digest, and your body doesn't recognize that you are as full. And more complex foods like whole grains can keep you full longer than more processed ones.

Fill up on vegetables and protein first. Often, at parties or events, by the time our brains get the message that our stomachs are full, we’re feeling beyond stuffed. That’s because we tend to eat faster or eat and drink more calories than usual. Protein has the unique ability to fire this message to our brains quickly, which makes you feel full faster, thus less likely to eat more. Combine that with the high fiber and low calorie content of vegetables, and you’ll be much less likely to wind up as stuffed as the turkey!

Also, as you make your holiday wish list this year, keep in mind that there is no better investment than in your health, and your life — that's why I highly recommend my 14-Day Diet and Fitness Shape-Up Plan, whether it's for you or for someone you care about. And as my gift to you, I'm offering a special $15 voucher for the plan this holiday season! For the price of a normal personal training session, you can get a full program that will not only transform your body but allow you to learn how to get serious results in less time — a plan that will last a lifetime. Get more info here. Offer valid through December 25 with the code HotfortheHolidays. 

Merry Merry! And please let me know personally if you plan to hop on the 14 Day plan or give it to someone you love; I’d love to check in with you!

—Amanda Russell 

amanda russellAmanda Russell is a top-rated fitness and lifestyle writer, professional keynote speaker, Olympic-trained athlete, celebrity fitness expert, model, spokeswoman, founder of The AR Program, and one of the industry's leading experts in fitness, wellness and change. Amanda has her own professional online workout channel and talk-show and was named as Google’s ‘Next Top Fitness Personality in 2012’. Highlighted as “having the unique ability to truly engage with the audience and make you believe that transformation is possible and within reach — Amanda moves the audience to action”.

Amanda can be found writing about life, fitness, wellness and change on her website, amanda-russell.com. To watch Amanda’s show, visit AmandaRussell.TV and subscribe! And for more ‘Sex and the City Meets Iron-Woman’, join Amanda on Facebook and Twitter.