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

By , SparkPeople Blogger
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!