"Four weeks is plenty of time to experience real results in weight loss and fitness. It's time to get focused, follow a few simple steps and get your shopping done, all at the same time," says Kerri O'Brien, an exercise physiologist and Vice President of Program Development with Colorado Weigh, a weight management program developed by researchers at the University of Colorado Center for Human Nutrition.
Step 1: Plan your meals. When out holiday shopping, plan your meals before you get hungry. Bring fruit or a granola bar with you to avoid reaching for high calorie, high fat impulse foods. Carry a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated. This will give you the edge when dashing through the sales racks.
Step 2: Keep track of calories and activities. In order to lose a pound a week, you'll need to reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories per day, burn an extra 500 calories per day or some combination of the two.
Step 3: Include activity in your holiday routine. Park your car on the opposite side of mall from your destination to burn calories quickly. A 15- 20-minute brisk walk through the mall can equal a mile -- and you'll burn 70 to 100 calories. Add shopping bags and you are incorporating a resistance- training program as well.
Step 4: Limit your alcohol calories. Each gram of alcohol packs seven calories compared to a gram of fat that has nine. The alcohol calories add up quickly and too much of it can dehydrate you. If you drink alcohol, be sure to drink eight ounces of water before each serving of alcohol.
Step 5: Recognize stress. For most of us, it increases during the holidays. Shopping, family commitments, holiday spending can take their toll. Exercise can reverse effects of stress. When feeling stressed, walk or lift a barbell. It'll burn calories and cause your body to release endorphins -- reducing stress at the same time.
The Colorado Weigh program combines nutrition and physical activity to create a balanced weight loss plan. The program, taught by registered dietitians, is tailored to each participant and utilizes state of the art metabolic, behavioral and environmental assessments to customize a diet and physical activity plan.
The Colorado Weigh Program is tailored to each participant and utilizes state of the art metabolic, behavioral, and environmental assessments to customize a diet and exercise plan.