Runners: Stave off Calories During the Holidays

 Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

Image courtesy of rakratchada torsap/

This time of year wrecks havoc on the diet—from holiday parties filled with fried finger foods to sit-down family dinners with all the trimmings and neighbors dropping off sugar cookies laden with colorful frosting, it’s so easy to blow through your daily limit of calories within hours. Runners generally watch their food intake to keep themselves in proper shape, except it’s very difficult for even the most rigid to stick to their diets. Here are a few ways to help keep fat and calories at bay during the toughest season:

Change your baking habits. Oils add in extra fat that you don’t need to keep cakes moist.

Do this:
Puree apples and citrus fruits and use the juice as an alternative to oil. It will not ruin your cakes; rather it makes them even moister and tastier because the fruit adds a flavor that oil cannot. Try it and see for yourself—you’ll want to share the results by baking for your friends and giving that as a gift.

Go into parties with a game plan. Know your weakness and fill up on healthy foods before diving in to something bad.

Do this:
Before you attend parties, eat something high in fiber, like apples, cooked pumpkin, sweet potatoes—this makes you feel fuller longer and you’ll no doubt eat less when you attend the party. The worst thing you can do is show up feeling ravenous as you’ll head straight to the dessert table.

During parties, fill up half your plate with crudités such as carrots and celery. Even if you want to, add a little dip. Although dip is typically high in calories, it’ll at least help you eat your vegetables. Be sure to place it on the side and not pour it all over the food. If the party offers hummus to accompany veggies, that’s even better as that offers protein.

Watch your beverages. Limit yourself to one drink or “spike” it with something low calorie.

Do this:
Try mixing drinks with a little diet soda; lime flavor generally works best or just use sparkling water. It’ll add a little carbonation to the drink, making it feel like Bubbly, but it’s actually just taking out half the calories. Pour a half glass of the carbonated drink and then the rest of the glass with a juice/adult beverage. You’ve just cut half the calories.

While it’s hard to stay true to the diet, it’s completely possible with just a few changes.

Happy Holidays!

Staying in Shape During the Holidays

As much as you might look forward to the holidays throughout the year, they do bring with them a few fairly large roadblocks when it comes to your training. First of all, there’s the weather. Plus there’s the added stress of being around family and having to make sure everything is just right. Plus, the food isn’t exactly what we would consider “healthful.” And all of that is on top of the fact that plenty of holiday-centric events start popping up between work and school that can take away from your training time. In fact, according to the University of Texas, some people gain as much as 7 pounds over the holidays. So, to help you avoid the annual weight gain, we’ve compiled some tips for staying in shape during the holidays.



Since all the major events are pretty much done for the season, now’s the time to give some attention to other training modalities. Taking some classes at the gym in something you don’t have a lot of experience with is a great way to round out your training, learn something new and stay out of the cold.

Taking some time off from your primary sport can also help you avoid overuse injuries in the long-term. This is especially true if you can take this forced indoor time to hit the weights. Strength training can improve your performance and muscular endurance regardless of what sport you normally compete in. Weightlifting has the added benefit of boosting your metabolism for a few days after your workout. That could be a valuable little change when it comes to all these holiday treats.


Control Your Appetite

Keep in mind that your regular workouts will help to suppress your appetite so they are incredibly important for you to keep up. Unfortunately, social pressure can still get the best of you and you might find yourself chowing down on food you don’t really want. So piling up on all the natural ways to limit your appetite might just be enough incentive to help you limit how many things you “just try.”

Drink a full 16oz glass of water before every meal. The water will fill you up and make you less hungry, taking up room that would normally be left vacant for all those foods you’re trying to avoid.

I know it sounds a little ridiculous but simply slowing down could also help reduce how much you eat by the end of your meal. The hormones that control your appetite, leptin and ghrelin, take time to do their jobs and get their message to the brain. If you eat too quickly, you might find that you’ve over eaten before you even realized it.

One more little psychological game you can play with your appetite involves cleaning your teeth. Think about it: If you immediately went and did a really thorough cleaning – brush, floss and rinse – the thought of cramming down any more food doesn’t seem all that appealing anymore, does it?

These are just a few ways to stay active and fit during the holidays. Please share your tips in the comments!