Tips to Avoid the ‘Muffin Top’ This Holiday Season
by Shara Ford, Granite Health+Fitness
Ah yes! We are approaching that time of year again where fitness goals go by the wayside and food, drinks and friends take center stage. Slowly the muffin top begins to appear as we spend less time in the gym and eat more party food. Your “skinny jeans” slowly become your “muffin top” jeans and you start reaching for your “comfy” jeans. I had the pleasure of celebrating my dad's birthday recently which included drinks, pizza, cheesecake and appetizers and that made me think about the upcoming food fest that seems synonymous with the season. While I am not opposed to enjoying the pleasures of life, I do believe we need to live life mostly healthy.
Here are some of my personal suggestions for avoiding a muffin top through the holiday season.
TIPS TO AVOID THE 'MUFFIN TOP' THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
Track What You Eat…
First off, I track what I am eating to help me stay accountable. When I watch the calories count up through the day it makes me think twice about having that cookie that is tempting me. This helps me stay focused and motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Food tracking apps are great. I use myfitnesspal which is an app you can download on your smart phone. These apps help determine what your goals are for weight loss, weight maintenance and food portions.
Secondly, if I know I will be attending a party and there will be higher calorie foods and drinks served, then I cut calories throughout the day to save a little for the party. One way I do this is by having a replacement protein drink for one of my meals. Focusing on protein is important as it takes the body longer to process keeping me content longer as I am trying to save calories.
Lastly, I will add 20-30 minutes extra of higher intensity exercise to my fitness routine through the week. Or I head to the gym for a longer workout to burn off the calories from the night before. Not using exercise as a punishment for food choices, simply to keep the caloric intake at status quo.
However, the good intentions of the above suggestions don’t always happen. One thing I try not to do is beat myself up if I feel I have over consumed. We are human and we will indulge occasionally. As a fitness instructor I tell my classes participants to live life in moderation. I can promise you this, the muffin top will not happen from one night of indulgence. The best thing you can do for yourself is live life “mostly healthy” by making healthy living a lifestyle. Cheers!