Want to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain? Burn It to Earn It!

144SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
11/25/2013 6:00 AM   :  115 comments   :  21,913 Views

Forget about all the food for a minute. Let's talk about the fitness. Holiday weight gain is a concern for many, but it's not just because of the food. Sure, we eat more rich foods than we probably should this time of year, but we also let our workouts go by the wayside. We're stressed out and busier than ever with mile-long to do lists. The uncooperative weather doesn't help—dark mornings and evenings make you want to curl up in bed—not to biceps curls. So how is it that we can manage to do everything else but not squeeze in a workout? And what does that say about our priorities (and our commitments to ourselves)?

Let's do things differently this year, starting with Thanksgiving. The solution really is simple. We know what causes weight gain and we know how to maintain and lose weight, too. So for the next few weeks, I propose a new philosophy that will keep winter weight gain at bay: Burn it to earn it.

It's pretty simple, really. Burn it (calories, that is) to earn it (the extra holiday food).

Want to indulge this Thanksgiving? Burn it to earn it.
Going for an extra slice of pie? Burn it to earn it.
Accepting some holiday cookies from a co-worker? Burn it to earn it.

A little extra eating is common during the holidays, and there isn't anything unhealthy about that. But before you bite, I want you to think about what you'll do to make sure that food doesn't become a permanent part of your anatomy. That's where exercise comes in. Before you let your exercise excuses get the best of you this season, here are 6 of my best workouts and tips that you can use today, Thanksgiving day (hint, hint), and all December long.

1. Follow the habits of fit people. These ideas can truly help you stick to a fitness routine, no matter what life throws at you.

2. Do a short video. I've created over 30 unique workouts—from cardio to Pilates to strength training. Many of these free videos require no equipment at all, and can be done anywhere you have a computer and Internet access (at home, the office, your in-laws, or even a hotel room). These short routines (most are under 15 minutes) make it easy to squeeze in a little exercise!

3. Sign up for a race. It probably isn't too late to join your local Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. Talk about burning calories before you bite!

4. Try my 30-Minute Holiday Workout! This will target all of your major muscle groups and elevate your heart rate simultaneously. Add intensity by mixing in jumping jacks, high knee jogging, squat thrusts and other simple cardio moves between each exercise.

5. Wake up early. Most gyms are open limited hours on Thanksgiving and other holidays, and if you wake up a little early, you can fit in a workout and still get dinner on the table on time.

6. Plan calorie-burning activities. Don't just lounge in front of the tube all Thanksgiving day. Plan an outdoor walk or hike after dinner; play a game of touch football; rake leaves for the little ones to play in; or volunteer at a food pantry to help those in need. Anything that gets you on your feet and moving is better than sitting, especially on a daily of overindulgence.

How will you "burn it to earn it" this Thanksgiving? Share your ideas in the comments below!


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Comments

  • 115
    At least one mile a day! - 12/5/2013   11:56:06 AM
  • WANABHOT2
    114
    Did an additional 2.5 miles for the week...the big thing will be to not drink during month of december - 12/1/2013   6:27:18 PM
  • 113
    I did 90 minutes of exercise on Thanksgiving, mostly walking but some biking as well. Today I did an hour's worth of exercise. Just do your exercise everyday and watch your portions at every meal. I think that's most of the battle right there~ - 11/29/2013   11:50:32 PM
  • 112
    On Thanksgiving dayI will walk to pick up a newspaper while my turkey is roasting in the oven, encourage my family to go on an after dinner walk and participate in an after the turkey hike on Friday morning. For the rest of the days to New Years I will be participating in my Team's challenge. - 11/28/2013   1:43:12 PM
  • 111
    I plan on getting up early and getting the turkey in the oven. After that I hope to get in a workout and a shower before the festivities begin. Good luck everyone and have a great holiday. - 11/27/2013   1:31:34 PM
  • 110
    How about the drinks? Family time means a lot of beer and wine for us. I am going to make sparkly drinks with Perrier and citrus slices and cranberry juice, and try to put off the wine until the meal is served. - 11/26/2013   8:45:07 AM
  • DELLMEL
    109
    Great blog. - 11/26/2013   12:37:15 AM
  • 108
    I strugged with the earning aspect of this article until I realized it was an inticement to do exercise. All the exercise suggestions are great. It is a win-win plan. Lets get moving/exercising! - 11/25/2013   11:21:25 PM
  • 107
    I find it incredibly problematic to frame food as something we need to earn or feel like we don't just deserve to have. This is just in general, but especially around the holidays when stress is at an all time high and food is universally present, if we start feeling like we need to earn every bite we take, there is a lot of room for shame, self-deprecation, and negative self talk. I prefer to look at it the way that advice on this site is usually framed: everything in moderation. Exercise, food, that extra piece of pie, a yoga class or a spinning class. All of those things I do (or eat!) because I like them and I know that, in moderation, they are good for me (or at least won't kill me). But to frame food as if it's something we don't just deserve (and need to survive) lies dangerously close to an eating disordered restrictive outlook. I'm surprised to see that here. - 11/25/2013   10:08:27 PM
  • JAZZIEGIRL824
    106
    Sounds like a great idea! I am hoping it will be easier for me to "burn it to earn it" because I will be camping for Thanksgiving. But that doesn't mean I won't be bringing the feast with me!
    - 11/25/2013   6:02:22 PM
  • 105
    I agree with burn it to earn it. I will be going to the gym on Thanksgiving morning for my Group Power weight lifting class. I will also be on my treadmill before that. I plan on burning off those turkey calories I plan on eating. love turkey so I plan on eating some...... - 11/25/2013   2:20:20 PM
  • 1MSSPARK
    104
    ...will be doing my yearly volunteer at our GRB center- 'City Wide Thanksgiving Feast'- serving homeless & people in need. It gives me much joy & blessing to help out.

    I pray that everyone has a Blessed holiday season. - 11/25/2013   1:14:40 PM
  • JOEWAND
    103
    I plan on being in control and making myself be active. We are starting with Thanksgiving Parade early in the morning then to my sister's for dinner. I plan on bringing some healthier versions of Thanksgiving traditions. - 11/25/2013   12:37:10 PM
  • 102
    A great motivational and inspirational article. Thanks, Coach Nicole! Adding "Burn It To Earn It" as a Goal on my Start Page and also making a Spark Streak for it. - 11/25/2013   9:24:16 AM
  • KARENLP4
    101
    I am on Week 5 of the SparkPeople 5K Your Way, so I'll get in three walk/runs this week! - 11/25/2013   9:23:08 AM
  • 100
    I have followed portion control, and an excellent exercise regimen for the last 4 years. The holiday season it more of the same. perhaps more awareness of the pitfalls. Dig a little deeper in the self control.
    I figure on Thanksgiving day there are more food choices , I will choose what I normally don't eat. let others go or really limit them. the same goes for all the parties this time of year. Plan ahead. I usually track before i eat. So i have an idea what and how much I am going to consume. Don't become obsessed, just aware. Have a nice happy holiday season. - 11/25/2013   9:22:30 AM
  • GOALMOTO
    99
    I love the article but I am thinking on walking it off by going to local stores and window shop and watch what I eat. - 11/25/2013   9:11:05 AM
  • RACEWELLWON
    98
    Turkey Trot and a Brisk Walk through the Forest. - 11/25/2013   8:52:11 AM
  • ALANA31553
    97
    My sister and I are going to 'count' our Thanksgiving dinner meal and make sure we 'burn' enough that day to have deficit for the day. We are planning on making sure half of our plate is veggies, 1/4 meat, 1/4 starches...and only ONE dessert! - 11/25/2013   8:44:15 AM
  • 96
    I'm trying to slow down when I eat this holiday. SO I can really enjoy what I'm eating. I tend to scarf down my food--now I let myself eat steamed and raw veggies fast, and S-L-O-W D-O-W-N on the richer stuff. - 11/20/2013   8:04:22 PM
  • 95
    This is exactly how I dealt with Thanksgiving and plan to keep it up throughout the holiday season. In my mind now, my workouts are non-negotiable and other stuff is going to have to be scheduled around them! - 11/26/2011   8:27:04 PM
  • 94
    Good article. I was feeling like I was tip toeing through landmines today, but now I think I can power walk through them. - 11/24/2011   1:20:00 PM
  • GUELDA1
    93
    I lost 3 pounds during the Thanksgiving week. I never thought It was possible, but I tracked everything and worked out for 6 hrs. during the week. Making 4 Spark recipes for Thanksgiving dinner and not going for seconds really did the trick. - 11/30/2010   11:14:31 AM
  • 92
    Great Article. - 11/28/2010   8:17:52 PM
  • 91
    I went to the gym and put in a hard work out Thanksgiving morning. My family looked at me like I was crazy when I was limiting portions of my two Thanksgiving favorites - sweet potato suffle' and apple pie - but I tried to not do too much damage.
    I don't think I will be able to squeeze in a workout on Christmas day as my husband and I will be splitting time between my parents and his parents house, but I plan to work out extra hard Thursday and Saturday to make up for the Honey Bake Ham and macaroni and cheese that will be waiting for me on Christmas Day! - 12/23/2009   10:42:00 AM
  • 90
    Remember to volunteer for kitchen clean up duty, and do not just load the dish washer. Do it the old fashion way. It burns more calories. - 11/30/2009   7:35:00 PM
  • 89
    Great ideas! - 11/18/2009   12:30:34 PM
  • 88
    I was excited to see that my gym is opened on TG day form 7 a-12 noon. Already planning on getting a workout in in the morning - 11/17/2009   12:21:12 PM
  • TRABOLD8567
    87
    Love your blogs! Keep them coming! - 11/17/2009   7:12:38 AM
  • 86
    that's fun... you could even burn it to earn... anything... spin for an hour, allow yourself some coveted dvd time... the exercise can be disconnected from food rewards... and weight loss numbers can be disconnected from "good or bad" by making positive behaviours (eating right, exercising time) what is rewarded. The weight and inch losses are after all rewards in themselves... but currently too easy to make fraught with good/bad connotations. So... I'm gonna go burn right now by hiking in to feed horses their hay! - 12/26/2008   11:42:20 AM
  • 85
    This is a great article! Poundcakes you made a great suggestion as well. Printing out this article and placing it in a location where it is visible is a constant reminder. Thanks you both for the information. - 12/10/2008   7:43:19 PM
  • 84
    Thanks!!! I am excited to work hard this holiday and "burn it, to earn it!" - 11/29/2008   8:09:45 PM
  • 83
    This is a great idea. Especially with all the parties coming up. - 11/29/2008   9:23:13 AM
  • RACHELRB
    82
    I started this Thanksgiving holiday with a 'Fat Burner' 90 minute class at my gym! We were all psyched to burn it so we could earn it. - 11/27/2008   7:03:46 PM
  • 81
    Thank for a great article. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American Spark friends - 11/27/2008   5:07:40 PM
  • 80
    I've been working on adding a little extra all week so I can enjoy today's dinner with out guilt. I've also been banking some calories. I'm going to eat everything I want today but not over indulge. Then I'll probably ride my bike this evening. - 11/27/2008   12:04:28 PM
  • 79
    EXCELLENT idea! I am on board with the "Burn it to earn it" motto! Thanks for all the helpful tips :) - 11/27/2008   10:36:48 AM
  • 78
    I should get cardio and strengthening points for preparing the holiday meal! I've been moving at lightening speed for 2 days! I'm still going to try and make time for a 2 mile walk today. - 11/27/2008   10:36:06 AM
  • 77
    Yep, I'm planning to hit the gym in a little while! Burn it to earn it, indeed! - 11/27/2008   8:57:44 AM
  • NYLINA
    76
    Great article! Thanks for the ideas! Now I dont have to feel guilty and enjoy my dinner cause I will "burn it to earn it"!!! - 11/27/2008   3:11:51 AM
  • 75
    I like this this no hands off approach. Sometimes saying no to things makes them more appealing to me. Now it's, "You can have it, but how bad do you want it?" Works for me- I hope.... lol
    - 11/27/2008   12:58:23 AM
  • 74
    I really like read the articles - 11/27/2008   12:32:15 AM
  • SEWCR8ZY
    73
    My Trainer is doing a Thanksgiving Morning Spin class tomorrow! We also had an hour spin class tonite to help us jump start our metabolism for tomorrow!!! - 11/26/2008   10:11:11 PM
  • SKINNYCHIC8
    72
    Love this article. I am waking up at 7 am tomorrow to get in a great work out before Thanksgiving meals. I am really excited to make this a healthy holiday! - 11/26/2008   1:50:18 PM
  • 71
    Nicole!! I shared your "Burn it to Earn it!" at my Weight Watcher's meeting and gave due credit. They all looked like a light bulb went on! Great tip! Thank again - 11/26/2008   12:01:58 PM
  • LISALU910
    70
    Answer to Sheri1969:

    I can't think of a single reason why it would be bad to bump up your exercise to burn off excess calories! It is a simple "in and out" equation. You burn the same as you take in and your weight stays the same. Therefore if you are eating more (during the holidays) you burn more to keep it equal. Makes perfect sense to me! - 11/26/2008   9:19:53 AM
  • 69
    Great article - good ideas that people have posted as well. I plan to workout in the morning before cooking (well, OK probably AFTER the turkey goes in the oven!). After dinner we already have a family walk planned so everyone will be actively moving around. - 11/26/2008   8:03:42 AM
  • 68
    What a great article! - 11/26/2008   7:25:12 AM
  • 67
    Thanks for a great article. "Burn it to earn it" is going to be my new mantra through the holidays. - 11/26/2008   7:09:22 AM
  • 66
    Definately! I'm bumping up my cardio time this week. Hubbie and I will hit the gym Thanksgiving morning, then have dinner early in the afternoon. I'll probably have a little larger-than-normal dinner but will stop before I'M stuffed! - 11/26/2008   12:08:28 AM

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