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How To Keep Holiday Weight Gain at Bay?

Most people enjoy having some extra treats during the holiday season, but, unfortunately, most of the treats that come with the holidays tend to be loaded with fat and calories, and not necessarily healthy choices that should come with everyday habits. 

A little splurging now and then, however, shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you make an effort to return to your normal healthy lifestyle afterwards.

In a recent study published in the UK, researchers followed two separate groups of individuals and kept track of their dietary intake as well as their exercise habits. 

One group consumed 50% more calories than normal for one week and skipped exercise altogether, and remained sedentary. The other group consumed even more calories, yet ran at a moderate intensity on a treadmill for 45 minutes per day.

At the end of the study, to no surprise, both groups had gained weight. The group that remained sedentary showed an increase in insulin sensitivity, as well as higher levels of fatty tissues. Their hormonal regulation and the proteins known to affect appetite were affected, slowing their metabolism. 

Interestingly, the group that continued to exercise daily quickly returned to normal metabolic rates, and showed an average of two pounds less weight gained during the same period.

Researcher Dylan Thompson, Ph.D., of the University of Bath, stated, “There is something about exercise that helps offset the changes that are normally experienced when you eat more and move less.” There is a definite correlation to exercise and a healthy metabolism.

So, even though you may not be making time to exercise amidst all of the festive happenings, remember that it is important—especially if you want to quickly return to your normal healthy patterns. 

Overeating can be triggered by stress and high emotion levels, so keeping this in the forefront of your mind.

Here are a few tips that can help you stay focused on good health while you are still enjoying some of the wonderful treats and tastes that accompany holiday celebrations.

  • Exercise helps reduce stress. Not only are the holidays notorious for weight gain and overindulging, but there is often plenty of stress that comes along with a busy schedule of parties and get-togethers, not to mention shopping, entertaining, baking and all of the other activities that surround the holidays.

    Sticking to at least a modified exercise regimen can help keep your mood and emotions well regulated, and help you to enjoy the holidays more. You will experience a boost in “happy hormones” for at least 12 hours after a good workout, so keep this in mind when you are thinking of skipping the workout.

    With many people experiencing some depression during the holidays, this is a terrific way to help stave off these problems.

  • Exercise keeps you focus. During the holidays, it is easy to become distracted from work and other responsibilities. Get your workout in first, before you have to deal with other distractions, and you will reap multiple benefits—keep your metabolism strong, keep your mood stabilized, and keep your weight gain in check.

    Stay focused on getting the important things done, so that you don’t find yourself feeling like you need to catch up after the holidays are over.

  • It’s perfectly fine to skip a few workouts during the holidays and enjoy some of the great treats that are going to inevitably be around and tempting you, but when you balance everything in moderation, you will feel better and stay healthier!

    SOURCES: http://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/weight-loss-tips/exercise-counteracts-overeating; http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-holidays-8/; Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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