Contributed by Sean Huffman - Fit For Life Physical Therapy
Runners and walkers who want to stay fit while enjoying a robust holiday season should not eliminate meals or skip post-run snacks. You could end up feeling sluggish and hangry!
Instead, try a few of these tried and true strategies:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Most people need at least 4 – 6 bottles of water per day and most runners or walkers need even more than that.
- Cut out all junk food. Eat real foods, not junk food. Anything that’s packaged and heavily processed should not be on your shopping list.
- Reduce the size of the portions with each meal. Don’t eliminate the meal, just shrink the size of the portions. Your appetite will adapt.
- Eat on a schedule. Make sure that you eat those smaller portions regularly throughout the day, but also have a strict cut off time at night after which you will not eat anything else. Whether is it at 6 PM, 7 PM, or 8 PM, don’t eat past that time and you’ll feel better in the morning.
- Swap out some of your favorites. Think about choosing something higher in protein and higher fiber, such as one scoop of ice cream topped with fruit and crushed nuts instead of a brownie ice cream sundae, or consider brown rice instead of pasta.
- Do some sort of strength training. Sometimes when you lose weight, you lose fat and muscle. In order to avoid losing some of that muscle, resistance training is key. You don’t need a fancy weight room since you can incorporate resistance training using your own bodyweight – such as push-ups, pull-ups, sit ups, mini squats, etc.
- Slow down at meal time. Sit down at the table, turn off the phone and television or other distractions, pay attention to how good the food tastes going down, and enjoy every bite.
- Finally, love what you’re doing. A running and walking exercise program is supposed to be fun. Your holiday weight will come off if you’re consistent with the strategies listed above.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to check in with us at Fleet Feet + FrontRunner’s in-house sports medicine partner, Fit For Life Physical Therapy (614-981-1979, www.fitforlifephysicaltherapy.com)