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8 Steps to Minimize Weight Gain During The Holidays

Ask a Pro — Diane Stibbard

Coach, Personal Trainer, and Two-Time Canadian Duathlete of the Year

Diane Stibbard - two-time dualthlete of the year

Question: “How do I stay in shape with all the holiday eating and drinking?”

Diane’s reply: The Christmas season is the hardest time of the year to stay in shape and committed to a healthy eating plan. With family, friends and office parties, come goodies that may not be so bad if consumed in moderation, but cause havoc if you are out two or three times a week over the holidays.

Follow my holiday survival guide: 8 Steps to Minimize Weight Gain Over The Holidays

1. Never go to a party or open house hungry – make sure you have a snack consisting of a little protein, carbohydrate and fat to avoid being ravenous as soon as you walk into a room filled with holiday food. Examples: Plain unsweetened yogurt with a half cup of seasonal berries. A half of a sandwich with lean protein and salad veggies. A small salad with olive oil vinaigrette, topped with some cheese or lean protein.

2. During the party start off with a glass of sparkling or still water to fill your belly before eating or having an alcoholic drink.

3. Always drink a glass of water (still or sparkling) between each alcoholic drink.

4. Take a napkin or a small serving plate when sampling the food. This will reduce how much you eat.

5. Have a cut-off grazing time. If you arrive early, then stop grazing at 8pm. However, if you arrive later in the evening try not to eat past 10pm. If you do, you won’t have time to digest your food and it will disturb your sleep.

6. Set a limit of the dessert/sweets table. Only take 2 small pieces of sweets and opt for fruit if possible.

7. Avoid standing near the food table, which will only tempt you to eat more. Instead move around the room as much as you can.

8. Involve yourself in conversation, this helps minimize overeating.

Three quick but effective indoor trainer workouts to beat the holiday craziness:

1. Build up’s
10 min warm up
5 minutes building up from moderate to hard intensity, follow with 30 seconds maximal effort
Spin to recover for 2 minutes
Repeat 3 times
5 min spin to cool down

2. Ladder down’s
10 min warm up
3 min hard intensity – 90 seconds easy spin
2 min hard intensity – 1 min easy spin
1 min hard intensity – 30 seconds easy spin
Repeat twice
5 min cool down

3. Steady as she goes
10 min warm up
5 min build to moderate intensity
15 min steady state intensity
5 min cool down

Training for a two-day cycling eventDiane provides training programs for recreational and competitive cyclists, duathletes and triathletes, including nutritional counseling and personal training. Does your company need a fitness consultant? Get in touch with Diane to discuss fitness seminars for corporations

You want personal training but don’t live near Diane? No problem. Diane does email and telephone consultations. To learn more, visit Diane’s website or contact her at

Check out Diane’s e-programs: Keeping Fit in the Off-Season and Training For a Two-Day Charity Event For the Time-Starved Cyclist.

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