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Rachel Cosgrove: Healthy holiday strategies

Make the right choices — even allow the occasional splurge — and you can still look great in the New

Posted: November 18, 2010 10:05 p.m.
Updated: November 19, 2010 4:55 a.m.
Laurie Struble, left, and Martha Jones hang on. Laurie Struble, left, and Martha Jones hang on.
Laurie Struble, left, and Martha Jones hang on.
Debbie Banerman, left, and Patty Snowfox exercise on bicycles Debbie Banerman, left, and Patty Snowfox exercise on bicycles
Debbie Banerman, left, and Patty Snowfox exercise on bicycles
 Healthy snacks are part of the strategy to stay on track during the holidays.  Healthy snacks are part of the strategy to stay on track during the holidays.
Healthy snacks are part of the strategy to stay on track during the holidays.

It has been said that the average person gains seven to 10 pounds over the holidays. Luckily that is a myth, but there is good news and bad news.

On the positive side, the most recent research suggests that the average person only gains one to two pounds over the holidays. So why worry about it?

Because, unfortunately, research also showed they never lose that one to two pounds. In fact, most people gain one to two pounds a year on average over their lifetimes. 

The same research also shows if you recently lost weight or are overweight, you will have a harder time maintaining over the holidays and may gain five pounds or more.

I used to say, “It isn’t what you eat between Christmas and New Years, it’s what you eat between New Years and Christmas!” But if you don’t have a strategy to get through the holidays, this quote may not stand true.

Again, a couple pounds may not seem like much, but if you gain that weight over a period from Thanksgiving to New Years (six weeks), it is most likely not temporary bloat, but it is instead a layer of fat that will be much harder to lose than it was to gain. Think about this:

One pound of fat = one stick of butter.

How would you like to start the New Year with a nice stick of butter on either side of your hips, or your muffin top or spare tire? Or maybe yours will land on your derriere? Hopefully that visual motivates you to come up with a strategy.

Instead, why not come up with a plan to lose one to two pounds of fat over the holidays while most people are gaining?
Take 10 minutes today and strategize what your plan is for the holidays and you will set yourself up for success.

1. Think ahead about the next couple weeks through the holidays. What splurges should you absolutely plan on? Pull out a calendar and check it out.

You have 43 days until Jan. 1 to get through the holidays, counting today.

In order to lose one to two pounds over this holiday period, your food choices should be 90-percent healthy. You can still enjoy a few splurges over the next six weeks, actually more than a few — here’s how:

If you are eating five meals a day for these 43 days (which you should be to get your metabolism revving), that is 215 meals. This means you have 21.5 meals over the next six weeks that you can splurge on. Go through the calendar and put an “X” on each meal you know you should plan to splurge on.

Bottom line, you can enjoy the foods you love, every experience you want to have and everything about the holidays without completely blowing it.

Planning ahead and having a strategy is the key. Make your plans now to splurge when you will enjoy it most.

The rest of the time eat food that fuels your body and gives you energy and vitality, such as lean protein, fruits and veggies.
Plan to carry healthy snacks with you, whether you will be shopping at the mall or running errands.

2. Another key to surviving the holidays is to think about your thoughts.

Most people go into black-and-white thinking. Maybe this sounds familiar, “I may as well not even try and just start in January.”

This is a poor strategy. You will be sorry when you have an extra one to five pounds (or one to five sticks of butter) to drop in January.

Instead, plan ahead by using the above strategy and come out of the holidays feeling fabulous at your New Year’s Eve party.

Start now by visualizing yourself at your office celebration or at any other holiday party, and mentally rehearse that you will not eat the treats.

Then visualize yourself wearing the outfit you want to wear at that New Year’s celebration and how great you feel.

3. Whatever you do, DO NOT drop your workouts at this time of year.

The only reason you can have 21 splurges and still change your body is because you are consistent with your workouts and keeping your metabolism revving.

Make a commitment to get to the gym at least twice a week, which I would recommend getting done early before anything else gets in the way.

To keep you motivated, Results Fitness has decided to offer the community a way to get one workout a week in while helping those in need.

Starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving, bring a can of food or a toy for the Santa Clarita Valley Homeless shelter and you can take class for free at Results Fitness (any of the Saturday group classes offered at 8:30, 10 or 11:30 a.m.)
This offer is good every Saturday until Christmas. Visit for more information.

Results Fitness is also offering a 30-day trial membership that will give you entry to attend the Holiday Hold ’Em strategy session.

At this session, you will get a calendar and we will walk you through the process in a group setting and figure out your exact strategy for the holidays.

These sessions are being held on Monday, Nov. 22 at 6:30, 9:30 or 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Cost for the 30 day trial membership is $89.

For more information, call (661) 799-7900 or visit


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