The holidays are coming up, and with that comes lots of delicious foods. Unfortunately, many of those delicious foods are high in calories, and too much can cause us to gain weight. For those who suffer from chronic back pain, those extra pounds can make it worse. Don’t let back pain get in the way of enjoying the holiday festivities. Here are my tips for avoiding back pain from holiday weight gain.
1. Don’t wait until January 1 to start exercising.
If you aren’t exercising regularly, you should start. People often let their fitness lapse during the holidays, resolving to exercise more in the new year. By then, you’ve already put on extra weight. Make it a point to continue exercising throughout the season, and it will help you to avoid excess weight gain. Really, you should be exercising year-round anyhow. Not only can it help you avoid weight gain, but the right exercises can also help with back pain. Do your body a favor, and start exercising. If you already exercise, try to add on an extra 15-30 minutes if you can. It can help to compensate for any extra calories you may take in.
2. Watch your calorie intake–everything in moderation.
Between Thanksgiving dinner and holiday parties, there will likely be a lot of high-calorie foods in front of you. You don’t have to deprive yourself of everything, but be smart about which foods you choose. Try to fill up on healthy foods like fruits and vegetables so you’ll want to eat less of the unhealthy foods. If you absolutely can’t resist that dessert, limit yourself to just a few bites.
You also need to pay attention to what you are drinking–alcoholic beverages are often present at holiday events, and they have a lot more calories than you might think. Drink mostly water, and try to limit your intake of other beverages.
3. Never go to a party with an empty stomach.
There are usually appetizers out at parties, and when everything is in small bites, you tend to lose track of just how much you are eating. Have a healthy, filling snack before you leave the house so you’ll be less tempted to overeat at the party.
4. Enjoy the social aspect of the holidays.
Whether it’s dancing, having conversation with friends and family, or participating in your family’s annual Thanksgiving football game, having a good time keeps your mind off of all of the food around you. Many of us are guilty of eating when we’re idle just because the food is in front of us. Stay busy and keep being social, and you’ll often find that you eat less.
5. Limit the “taste tests.”
If you’re cooking foods for the holidays, it can be tempting to taste several times as you go. However, those seemingly little tastes can add up when combined with your regular meals, especially if you’re doing a lot of cooking. You should only need to taste before and after seasoning, and not large bites–just enough to make sure the flavor is ok.
Enjoy the holidays, but not so much that you let your health and fitness slide. You don’t want to spend your holidays with back pain because you put on a few extra pounds. Have fun, but take care of yourself.