pumpkin pies

If the sales flyers and shopping bargains haven’t tipped you off yet, let me put this bluntly: the holidays are here! And, as usual, they brought along friends like cold weather, a lack of daylight, visits from the in-laws, and lots of junk food.

The results of which can be summarized as holiday weight gain. It’s almost inevitable. I for one have gained a few pounds already, and there’s no telling what will happen come Christmas!

But to fight back against weight gain (I can’t help with your in-laws), here are five simple strategies to keep you lean and mean until you can get back out on your bike.

5. Holiday Workouts

Despite weather or family commitments, set aside some time to ride. Plan a big ride in the morning before your big Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. For two reasons…

First, you’ll burn off some calories that can be replenished at the meal. That way you’re offsetting what would be a big weight gain. Second, you’ll be less likely to binge on junk food after working hard on your fitness. If the effort you put into your training is fresh on your mind, you won’t want to throw it away by gobbling up every piece of pie you see.

4. Start With Healthy Foods

Fill up on fruit and other healthy foods first, then take a break. For example, have a plate of turkey, veggies, sweet potatoes, and cranberries, then savor a glass of water (or wine.) And then, and only then, browse the desserts.

You’ll have consumed valuable nutrients, and you’ll feel fuller and be less inclined to stuff yourself with desserts.

3. Heed The Law of Diminishing Returns

Once you make it to the desserts, go ahead and try some pie. But just eat a small slice. After a few bites, there’s no real reason to eat more, as you’ve already gotten the taste. The first bite is wonderful, while the pleasure from the last bite is nowhere near as much.

It’s the same principle as the “buy one, get the second 50% off” sales. Getting a second shirt (or piece of pie) isn’t worth as much as the first because it doesn’t provide the same level of satisfaction.

2. Be The Designated Driver

Planning on having a few beers or shots of whiskey? Think twice, because some drinks can really pack on the calories, especially mixed drinks (egg nog, for example.) You could actually drink in just as many calories as you got from dinner.

Being the designated driver is a great way to avoid them (unless you value alcohol more than the lives of your family members, in which case weight gain is the least of your worries…)

1. Don’t Stand Beside The Desserts

Somehow I always end up standing beside the dessert table. While you’re standing there and visiting, you’re also grabbing handfuls of snacks to munch on (sometimes without even realizing it.)

This is the easiest thing to do, and it can make a huge difference. Since you don’t even need the food, there’s no harm in avoiding it, but if you end up mindlessly chomping on some cookies, you’re in trouble.

Plop down on the couch or beside the veggie platter instead.

If you manage to implement all five strategies, good job! (You’ll thank yourself in your first race next season…)

Photo credit: jonbro

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  1. This year I decided to route myself around the house without crossing paths with the multitude of desssert trays and it WORKED! really- without seeing them each time, i wasn’t so tempted.

  2. i’ll probly get fat anyway. nothing unusual though!

  3. I’m pretty sure my Christmas morning ride kept the scales in check this year 😀

  4. You can still get a lot of fat burning results in a short amount of time…dont’ stop working out this time of year!


  5. My in-laws make it fun by holding an annual contest to see who can lose the most weight from Thanksgiving day to New Years day. The whole family goes out to dinner after the contest and the winner eats for free. Not eating at holiday meals is punishment but eating in moderation as well as eating with a goal in mind is smart, can be fun, and could get you a free dinner.

  6. @Donnie

    Now that is a freaking awesome idea! I bet a lot of the CoachLevi.com visitors will enjoy the competitive aspect to that and start doing it themselves!

  7. There is more to life than eating dessert. All you need is a little self control. The holidays should mean more to us than good food and presents anyways.

    The commercialization of Christmas (and now Thanksgiving via Black Friday deals starting at 10pm Thursday) is more than the shopping – it’s the promotion of all the sweets on the display counters and on television.

  8. @Eileen

    That is a good point you make. But it might be a little difficult to convince your entire family to quit the “good food” part of the holidays!

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