Archive for December, 2012

Stay Fit for the Holidays!

Friday, December 14th, 2012
Jen Rowley, A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer
Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor

…And the countdown begins! The holidays are officially upon us and everywhere you look there are reminders of all the commitments we have in the last couple of weeks of 2012. It can be intimidating, for sure. It may be overwhelming, too. It can wreak havoc on your diet and exercise program if you let it. Or, you can take control and be prepared with a few easy strategies.

The most common reason people lose resolve, instead of weight, during the holiday season is mostly due to stress.  When people get stressed, they eat less healthfully, drink more, exercise less and sleep less. People also have more demands on them during this time of year, leaving less time for healthy food preparation and exercise. These changes in behavior can lead to a weight gain of up to 10 pounds in just 2 short months. The short-term result may show up as weight gain, particularly as belly fat. This can lead to long-term effects such as low self-esteem and higher risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes.

So, what is the best strategy for eating better before and during the holiday season? To be successful, be sure to have a plan in place. Start with these easy recommendations from IDEA Fitness Journal:

  • Commit to your regular workouts with your trainer, as well as a daily 30-minute walk or run.
  • Keep healthy snacks at work–prepared fruits and veggies, almonds, yogurt–to help you resist the candy jar and office treats.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Try eating a healthy snack before attending a holiday gathering.
  • Incorporate foods into your diet that help combat stress, such as salmon, tuna, turkey, beans, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, dark green veggies, and dark chocolate.
  • Aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
  • Use a non-food reward system–new running shoes, a massage–for staying on track.
Early planning and preparation for the holidays is very helpful! If you are doing a lot of traveling over the holidays, be prepared with healthy snacks so you don’t give in to the drive-though or airport fare. And don’t forget to have your trainer write up an exercise program that you can easily and realistically follow while you are traveling. This workout should be dependent upon your access to certain equipment, so let your trainer know if you have a full hotel gym at your disposal or only the bands that you packed in your luggage. Or nothing at all! Remember that you don’t need any fancy equipment to get a solid workout.

6 Ways to Help You Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions

It’s that time of year, when many of us try to break bad habits and develop good ones. Too often, the brain sabotages our strongest resolutions. Here, doctors who help people overcome addictions —powerful, destructive habits—offer suggestions on how to rewire the brain to kick bad habits for good.

1. Figure out your trigger. “Habits are formed when a behavior is linked to an emotion,” says Virgilio Arenas, M.D., a specialist in addiction psychiatry at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Try keeping a diary to track exactly what emotion or event triggers a habit, both good and bad. Does eating a certain food make you feel guilty? Did you feel fabulous after you finished a tough workout? Track it!

2. Find a replacement habit.  People don’t really break habits; they just replace them. So, to break a bad habit, find a new, healthy one to replace it. Take a walk after dinner instead of lounging in front of the t.v.

3. Look into the future.  Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. Give yourself time to retrain your body and mind. Think of the future benefits, not just the instant gratification!

4. Keep the good habit going for three weeks.  After three weeks, or 21 days, the new habit should become second nature. Stick with your resolutions!

5. Get support. Ask for support from friends and family who encourage and reinforce positive changes. Tell everyone you know about your resolutions; you will be more likely to stick with them!

6. Exercise. Regular exercise has so many physical–and mental–benefits. Weight control, mood improvement, increase in energy, and better sleep are just a few.  And here’s the good news, exercise doesn’t have to be a marathon. Daily walking will do!


 What are you waiting for? Put those resolutions in writing today and ring in the New Year with the goal of being the best you can be!
Happy New Year!
Idea Fitness Journal, December 2012