My Fit Thanksgiving

Three simple tips to avoid holiday weight gain.

This piece is part of a month-long Wanderlust and YOGANONYMOUS series about alternative ways to celebrate Thanksgiving. How do you celebrate the holidays yogi-style?

The holiday season is upon us. And along with the joy and merriment, this time of year brings with it ample opportunity to indulge in food and drink, and even the most devoted health specialist can succumb to weight gain. In fact, studies have shown that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, adults gain an average of one to three pounds. What’s worse, it’s hard to lose the excess weight once the holidays are over.

There are modest ways to curb cravings for those titillating cheese squares on toothpicks or gingerbread chimneys slathered in iced gummy treats. For the next 30 days, try these three easy ways to keep your system flowing and your soul from smothering in excess.

1. Eat 30 percent more raw foods per day.

Experts recommend 30 percent of daily nourishment should be from uncooked foods. Eating raw relegates the body into slowing down during a frenzied season, as it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain it’s full. Raw foods provide deceleration versus rapid vapid consumption. To get in more raw nutrition, start every holiday season meal with a baseball-sized portion of uncooked vegetables or enough raw nuts to pack into a single shot glass. Starting your meals with raw food will give vitamins and minerals the time they need to complete their delicate dance together, plus fats and carbohydrates convert into the precise sugar (glucose) needed to fuel our brain, iron pumps oxygen, potassium supervises blood pressure, calcium generates bone strength, magnesium inspires cellular function, and zinc zones in on defending the immune system. The cellulose roughage wrangles with our large intestines and takes out the garbage. In all, the digestive process syncs up with your brain’s understanding of how full you are, making it less likely you’ll overeat.

2. Drink 30 percent more water per day.

Water is our supreme solvent. Hydrated mucus membranes (a moist mouth and teary eyes, for example) are all regarded as the first signs of our body ramping up defense against infection. A hydrated body also helps us distinguish hunger from emotional pangs like being angry, lonely, or tired. Effective water consumption for cleansing is a lot like learning to meditate: go slow, take it easy, don’t force it, and don’t expect to be able to do it all at once. If you aren’t already consuming eight glasses of water a day, help yourself out by adding a little lemon, lime, or cucumber.

3. Snack 30 percent more throughout the day.

Eat more and increase your metabolism. This is not a license to eat 30 percent more overall, but to nibble on some super foods throughout the day to keep your body busy breaking down nutrients. Let your spine be your guide to a good eating schedule: the cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spine have vertebrae that represent when you should eat each day—7, 12, and 5. Now slip in a snack at 10, 2, and 7. Try 1/3 cup of yogurt, nuts, dried fruit, beans, hummus, or kale chips. It will keep your body working for you, not against you. Placing yourself on an eating schedule allows your blood glucose levels to survive jarring jeopardy. Blood glucose is the craving control center for Krispy Kremes and the like. Famished glucose levels lead to the growling in your stomach and a tired, cranky, angry person who overeats the next time food is presented. Keep a stable level of glycogen and avoid the cavernous fall into cravings.

The other 10 percent? Be kind to yourself. Bad patterns are perpetuated by our sense of failure from the previous day. Every sunrise is an opportunity for change.

andes-hrubyAndes Hruby has spent 30 years as a certified fitness instructor in five disciplines and graduated Columbia University with an MFA in writing. The American Council on Exercise accredits her as a Health Coach, Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Facilitator. To better balance her body Hruby began her training in the Ashtanga community under Beryl Bender Birch, David Swenson, and Nancy Gilgoff. Hruby was previously the NBC Fit Guru of Connecticut, and for over a decade was the owner of Studio Blue: Fitness Made Fun. She currently writes a lifestyle and fitness column for ConciergeQ and has been a contributor at: Glamour, Elle, Allure, Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire and numerous on-ine zines and blogs. After an injury she has turned her attention toward coordinating unique retreats at Manu Yoga Retreats in Costa Rica.