MMB – January = Mental Toughness

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are having a marvelous day in whatever you are doing.  Some of you may have the holiday off for MLK Day, and some of you may be working, but I hope you are feeling refreshed and ready to go in kicking off the week!  This past Saturday was the beginning of the 6-Week Fit For Change Challenge.  Due to the holiday weekend, it was lightly attended, but the fitness crew that came out brought their warrior best and fought hard!  Obstacle courses are all the fitness rage right now.  Why?  Because they work and it’s a fun and efficient way to burn up hundreds of calories, build strength, stamina, and build muscle all from the same work out!  For the next five weeks, every Saturday you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a timed obstacle course competition that will challenge you to your core.  Lisa Dillon, who is a regular in my classes, commented after this 30 minute boot camp, “This was the toughest 30 minute work out I’ve ever experienced,” as she said with a big smile on her face and sweat dripping off her brow!  If you are a beginner level, please don’t fret because I can tone down the exercises and make them more low impact.  Whatever your fitness level is, I promise I can craft a work out that will be just right for you!

MMB – Health and Wellness are Verbs in Disguise!

Good morning everyone,

I hope you are walking into your Monday morning with a renewed and refreshed spirit that is ready to take on January!  This is the month that requires a little extra of everything:  motivation, inspiration, a positive attitude, and being purposeful in healthy living.  While we may not have the freezing and blizzard like conditions that our friends on the east coast are experiencing right now,  we still experience dark and rainy mornings that make it difficult to want to get out of bed and start the day.  This is the moment you shake hands with your goals.  Health and wellness doesn’t just happen.  They sound like nouns, but I would argue that they are verbs in disguise!  Being healthy isn’t really a thing, because in order to be healthy, you must do!  In order to eat healthy, you must go to the store, buy nutrient dense food, bring it home, and then DO something with it.  Again, it’s all in the action of doing.  You cannot think your way into fitness.  You must actually put the work in and get your heart rate up and sweat.  Yup, it’s all of the uncomfortable stuff that is painful at times that transforms us into being fit and healthy people.  So, as we are all walking into our first week back, with all of our regular commitments, let’s stay focused on the actions of health and wellness because we want the adjectives of health and wellness such as; fit, vibrant, energized, capable, positive, happy, confident, and charismatic!

MMB – Happy New Year!

Hi Everyone,

Happy New Year to you!  I hope you had a wonderful weekend and enjoyed bringing in the New Year!  Can you believe it’s 2018?!  Now is the time to start thinking about what you want 2018 to look like.  How did your 2018 wrap up?  Were you happy with your accomplishments personally and professionally?  Did you grow?  Were you challenged?  As we begin the New Year, let’s strategize how we can embrace health and wellness together.  I can tell you it’s not about a diet and it’s not about a work out.  Wellness is much more than a temporary goal or quick work out.  What’s your mindset like?  Did you know that everything you do throughout the day is either guiding you towards health or disease?  Now is the time to evaluate your behaviors and habits and search for the areas of your life that are hurting your potential to live the best life you can.  This is what we’ll be focusing on in 2018!  Are you ready?  Let’s do this thing!  Happy New Year!

MMB – Merry Christmas!

Hi Everyone,

It’s Christmas Eve and I’m sitting down to write this blog in a bit of disbelief that tomorrow is Christmas.  Since I’m hosting Christmas dinner, like all of you, I have a ton of things to do today to prepare for Christmas.  Somehow and some way, we always make the “magic” happen because that’s what parents do!  With all the distractions of the “busy work”,  my mind is also pondering the birth of our Savior and the unimaginable sacrifice that our Lord made for us.  To imagine that God came to us as a vulnerable baby 2,000 years ago, is an overwhelming thought to take in.  Yet, this is what happened and it’s because of His birth that we celebrate Christmas.  In my heart, I sincerely want to extend a very Merry Christmas to you, and pray that you too can take in the miracle of His birth and the hope that only He can give us. 

 

MMB – Wrapping Up 2017

Hi Everyone,

The countdown is on and there is only one week left before Christmas!  Yikes!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend and made holiday memories with your family and friends.  Thanks to everyone, who made it out to classes this past week, and special apologies go out to the crew who came on Thursday night – you know who you are LOL!  As I’ve been saying, this time of year is super tough to stay motivated and consistent with work outs, so if you are off pace and feeling a bit blue about it, set new goals for this week and carve out time today to start  moving again.  Even if it’s only 20 minutes of something, that’s better than 20 minutes of nothing!  Be very mindful about what you are eating too.  Over the years and especially at holiday time, I’ve noticed a correlation between an increase in sugar intake and the blues.  The more sugar I eat, the more depressed I feel.  So guess what goes out the window?  Yup, the motivation to move – so the more sugar you eat, the less you move, the worse you feel, and so therefore, the more sugar you eat!  Do you see how this spiral effect is so lethal and destructive?  Trust me, you don’t want to walk into January feeling miserable about the way you look and feel.  Pretend it’s January now and limit sugar intake, increase water and veggie intake, and move as much as you can! 

MMB – How’s Your Gut Health?

Good morning everyone,

Can you believe we are in the middle of December?  Is your schedule bursting with a multitude of activities?  Are you finding it difficult to find balance with nutrition, exercise, and sleep?  Well, you are not alone friends!  As a trainer, it’s my job to keep reminding you to carve out time for self care so that you don’t get sick, burned out, or depressed.  This is why it is so important to tap into a community of like minded people, who want to take their health to a higher level, and encourage one another to keep charging ahead with healthy eating, consistent work outs, and positive attitudes.  Is it easy? No!  But thankfully, life comes one day at a time and we have many fork in the road moments to make good choices. 

MMB – To Veggie or Not? That is the Question.

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are all doing well and feeling great walking into your Monday morning!  Excellent effort by everyone who was able to make it out to classes this past week!  I like the momentum out there and it’s been great seeing some “old” familiar faces!  I was particularly jazzed after Boot Camp on Saturday because you guys are the best!  I love watching how all of you check in with one another and are genuinely interested in how the other person is doing.  When someone comes to class and it’s been a while since they’ve attended, they are always approached with hugs and warm greetings.  This makes my heart smile like nothing else.  For those of you who are attending my 7am boot camp, you know that I’ve been allowing my boys to join in.  They are still on trial with this and as long as they can prove they have the maturity and physical capability for class, then they are welcome to come.  I’ve been teaching them that they are “ambassadors” of Jen Allan Fitness, so know that there’s a lot of teaching going on behind the scenes! 

MMB – Healthy Holiday Choices

Hi Everyone,

Happy Monday to you!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday week and weekend and took some time off to be with friends and family.  I’m super proud of everyone who was able to keep moving during the holiday and especially for those of you who made it out to either Thanksgiving Boot Camp or Saturday Boot Camp.  I had asked for feedback from some of you about how you felt after you exercised and if it changed your perspective walking into Thanksgiving. The answers I received back varied, but everyone agreed that they were more energized and were more cautious about the foods that they chose to eat because they were more mindful about what was going into their mouths.  Bravo guys!  This just proves that you can enjoy yourself on a holiday, especially if you prepare on the front end with increased work outs and mental preparation.  Also, I can’t emphasize portion control enough!  Yes, you can enjoy a small piece of pie, but if you eat a large slice and then go back for seconds, that’s when we are in trouble.  Balance, moderation, and mindfulness are the tools of the season!  Let’s launch into this holiday season with thankful hearts, gratitude for our blessings, and celebrating our health with mobility and clean eating! 

 

Thanksgiving Boot Camp Photos!

 

 

 

 

 

Announcements and Reminders:

1) Cardio Core at Jen’s Studio Tuesday:  There is currently 1 opening at 5:45pm.  Please let me know if you are interested.  If you want to sign up for the coming weeks, please contact me so I can put your name on the list. 

2)  Cardio Fusion will be at Valley Bible Church Thursday.  Class times 6:15pm and 7:20pm.

3)  Christmas Boot Camp and Brunch – Saturday, December 23rd.  There will be one boot camp from 7am to 8am, followed by a catered brunch by Jen to celebrate another year of fitness together!  Kids are welcome too.

Thought for the week:  Healthy Holiday Choices

This is the time of year when temptation is all around us.  Every corner we turn, we are greeted by the aromas of sugary sweetness found in cookies, pastries, cinnamon rolls, and syrupy coffee drinks.  Many of us are catching up with old friends, who are visiting from out of town, and so we find ourselves eating out more often and consuming double or triple the calories.  Continuing with this holiday lifestyle, fast forward to the beginning of January and it’s no wonder that we are miserable and signing up for gym memberships like it’s our last chance for redemption. 

So, how do we handle this?  For those of you who know me well, you know that I am a foodie girl.  I love to cook, bake, and entertain and yes, food is love!  Nothing makes me happier than making a delicious meal and watching loved ones thoroughly enjoy themselves.  What makes me even happier is knowing that I am choosing healthy ingredients and creating dishes that are nutrient dense and satisfying. 

During the holidays, you can still totally enjoy the tastes of the season without packing on the pounds.  Here are some common sense approaches that I want to share with you. 

1)  Buffet table – When facing the daunting task of choosing your lunch or dinner form a buffet, think salad and veggies first.  Load up on these items first before going for the starchy or meat options.  Because of the dense amount of fiber found in plant based options, you’ll be less likely to load up on large amounts of carbs or heavy meats filled with saturated fat.  Choose water instead of soda and forget the piece of complimentary bread that comes with your salad.  Avoid anything that looks “glistening” because it is probably loaded with fats such as butter or oil.  If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.  If you do choose to add pasta, rice, or potatoes, go small.  If you are eating out, these foods are going to have extra salt, fats, potential msg, and are loaded with extra calories. 

2)  Holiday choices – Choose yams over potatoes.  Choose brown or wild rice over white rice.  Choose lean turkey meat over roast beef or prime rib.  Choose pumpkin pie over pecan or cream pies.  Ditch the roll and save the calories for a small piece of dessert.  Eat foods that are truly special to you and skip the ones you feel mediocre about.  Mediocre calories aren’t worth it.

3) Salads can be a healthy God send or a wicked fat trap.  All salad is not created equal.  Don’t hate me, but avoid these things:  cream style dressings, croutons, bacon bits, shredded cheese,  salads that have already been tossed with dressing, any fried things such as chicken or wonton sticks.  Add a variety of chopped veggies, lettuces, spinach, edamame, chopped herbs, beans, seeds, lentils, avocado, and a sprinkling of salad dressing. 

4)  Watch those coffee or tea drinks!  This is another area we have to be very careful.  Going to StarBucks or Peet’s coffee has become a national past time as it is a wonderful place to conduct business, meet up with a friend, or go for an afternoon pick me up.  If you are going to order a sweetened coffee or tea, ask for lightly sweetened or only one pump of the syrup, such as a mocha with 1 pump instead of 3.  Better yet, order a regular coffee and add a sprinkling of cocoa powder and sugar at the counter.  You’ll still get the taste of a treat without all of the added sugar and fat. 

5) Don’t slack on your work outs!  If you know you are going to be taking in more calories for an upcoming holiday event, then balance out the equation and carve out time for hard work outs beforehand.  This will make such a difference in how you look and feel.  Keep your metabolism revved up and active so you can manage the extra calories with success.

6) Don’t make a habit of staying up late every night.  Proper sleep equals cellular repair and if you are in a constant state of sleep deprivation, then your body can linger in stress, inflammation, fatigue, and sluggishness, ultimately leading to weight gain and disease.  Hit the hay earlier, rather than later!  You’ll be happy that you did.

7) Fridge stock up.  Make sure you are carving out time to go to the store and have fresh ingredients on hand to make home made meals and snacks.  We are far more tempted to eat sugary treats when we aren’t fueled up on the healthy stuff.   Make  sure you are eating fresh fruits and veggies every day.  I know it sounds simple, but have you noticed how much we need to be reminded about this??  It’s because the pleasure part of our brain seeks out savory and sweets.  The idea of a carrot or cucumber can’t really compete unless you train your taste buds  to eat them on a regular basis so that you begin to crave fruits and veggies.  This is the path to living disease free. 

Let’s make this an awesome holiday season where we are focused on our health, blessings, and wellness!  You can do it!   Together, we can do great things!

Jen

 

MMB – A Killer Home Work Out for You!

Hi Everyone,

 Can you believe that Thanksgiving is Thursday?  This week will launch the holiday craziness with crowded malls, congested streets, and overflowing waiting lines for restaurants, Starbucks, and ATM’s.  I can hardly wait!  Do you sense my sarcasm?  Well, we all take what we want from the season and I will choose to grab onto thankfulness and watch my kids in wonder as they craft their Christmas lists, make Star Wars Christmas cookies, watch Elf, and go out at night to drive through neighborhoods filled with amazing displays of Christmas lights and decorations.  Of course, the most important aspect we’ll be focusing on is the birth of our savior and can’t wait to attend the Christmas Eve service at our church, Valley Bible Church this year.  You are all welcome to come and join us if you don’t already have plans for Christmas Eve!  See me for details if you are interested. 🙂

MMB – Yes, the Holidays are Around the Corner!

Hi Everyone,

I hope you are walking into your Monday morning feeling refreshed and invigorated.  Glancing down at the calendar, I can’t believe it’s November 13th, can you?  Where has this year gone?  Well, I can officially start reminding you guys on a daily basis that yes, the holidays are here, and it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to manage the holidays without gaining weight and feeling miserable.  You can probably guess that it has something to do with exercising regularly, watching excess sugar intake, increasing greens and veggies, and getting proper rest?  Yup, this is a good list to start with but I’ll have some additional tips for you below, so keep reading!

Announcements and Reminders:

1)  Cardio Core is at Jen’s Studio Tuesday.  There is one spot open for each of the time slots at 5:45pm, 6:55pm, and 7:35pm.  Please let me know if you’d like to join us!

2)  Cardio Fusion will be at Jen’s studio this week because VBC is utilizing the multi-purpose room.  There will be three classes for sign up just like the Cardio Core format at 5:45pm, 6:55pm, and 7:35pm.  If you are interested in a Cardio Fusion class at Jen’s studio, please contact Jen!

3)  Thanksgiving Morning Boot Camp!  Come get a killer work out in on Thanksgiving morning so you can enjoy the rest of your day with special dishes and treats.  Classes will be at 7am and 8:05am.

4)  The Annual Christmas Boot Camp & Brunch!  Mark Saturday, December 23rd down because you’ll attend Boot Camp and then enjoy a Christmas Brunch directly afterwards.  Come and enjoy Mama Jen’s special breakfast strata, homemade muffins, a fruit salad, Peet’s coffee, and special time to fellowship with our fitness friends! 

5)  New!  20-Minute Check-in with Jen!  Need some nutritional advice?  Want weigh in accountability and measuring?  Need some extra stretching or strengthening tips?  You can meet with Jen for 20 minutes to fine tune the things that are road blocks to your health and wellness goals.  Cost is $25. 

 

Thought for the week:  Managing the Holidays is Achievable!

 

Can you smell it in the air?  Can you see them on the counter?  Yup, it’s the aromas of pumpkin spice lattes, ginger snap cookies, peppermint chocolates, and colorful sugary delights around every corner you turn. What’s a person to do with all of this temptation?!  Well, first of all, don’t panic. 

As a trainer I always say, I don’t worry so much about what you do from Thanksgiving to Christmas, it’s what you do from Christmas to Thanksgiving that I mostly care about.  Capiche? 

If you are a person who is in the habit of moving on a regular basis and eating a well balanced diet throughout the year, then a few delectable treats consumed over the coming weeks should be enjoyed and celebrated.  Life is all about balance and if you’ve been working hard and eating clean, it’s o.k. to enjoy a few treats of the season. 

When do we get in trouble?  Well, if we treat everyday as a holiday and begin indulging on excess sugar, refined carbs, sodium enriched foods, and consuming more sugary drinks and alcohol, then we are going to get into trouble.  These foods are addictive and if you aren’t careful, you’ll start craving sugar every day and the pounds will start to pack on and you’ll start feeling like the Grinch has stole your Christmas. 

I attended a fitness conference two weekends ago and there is new research out about sugar and how it affects the body.  Do you know what sugar acts like in your body?  An antibiotic!  Essentially, a diet high in sugar does the exact same thing to your gut flora as an antibiotic….it kills them.  Many Americans are sick in this country with a whole host of problems because of imbalanced flora in the gut and a weakened immune system.  Have you ever wondered why we have so many food allergies and sensitivities to gluten?  Many of these problems start in the gut because we aren’t consuming enough pre-biotic and pro-biotic foods. 

I found a pretty cool article from greatist.com featuring holiday nutrition tips from nutrition experts around the country.  I found it to be a fascinating and enlightening read and I thought I’d pass it along.  They all have tidbits of wisdom to share about managing the holidays and I hope you’ll be inspired by something you read that will help you stay focused and disciplined during this tempting time of the year. 

Have  great week and see you in class soon!

Jen

 

The One Thing Top Nutrition Experts Do to Stay Healthy During the Holidays by Charlotte Anderson. 

Sourced from greatist.com   https://greatist.com/eat/holiday-healthy-eating-tips

 

Pecan pie! Honey-glazed ham! Candy cane truffles! Holiday food can inspire anxiety or ecstasy—or both—depending on your mind-set. Here’s the good news: The average weight gain for the holiday season is just one pound. Now for the bad: While that might not sound like much, research shows we don’t lose it, and that one pound adds up year after year. And the news is worse for people who are already overweight, who add about five extra holiday pounds each year.

Sweet treats and rich meals can be landmines for health-conscious people, yet no one wants to feel deprived during the hap- hap-iest season of all. No need to fear—there are sensible ways to navigate this territory. And who better to show you how to do it than healthy eating experts themselves? We asked the country’s top nutritionists and dietitians to tell us the single rule they follow to make it through the season without overdoing it or stressing so much that they miss out on the festive fun.

Lindsey Joe, Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist

My one rule: Eat what you love, leave what you like.

Instead of piling your plate a mile high with things that don’t really tantalize your taste buds (fruit cake, we’re looking at you!), pick only the foods that give you true enjoyment. If something doesn’t make you swoon, leave it on the sideline.

Erica Giovinazzo, R.D., Head Coach and Nutritionist at Brick CrossFit and ​BodyChange Dietitian

My one rule: Keep your treats to one day a week.

The biggest mistake people make at the holidays is making Thanksgiving a four-day feast instead of a one-day indulgence. Then the holiday parties come, and all of a sudden you’re giving yourself an excuse to have treats nearly every day. Rather than letting your holiday feast roll into pie for breakfast, limit your splurges to one event per week.

Lisa Moskovitz, R.D., CEO of NY Nutrition Group

My one rule: Nix the guilt.

Feeling guilty after eating foods you don’t usually allow yourself to eat can breed more unhealthy behaviors. So abandon those negative voices in your head, give yourself permission to enjoy the indulgence guilt-free, and then remember to get back on track with your normal eating routine the very next day.

Justin Robinson, Registered Dietitian

My one rule: Don’t eat something just because it’s holiday food.

Listen to your body; most people eat particular foods like pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving or down cups of eggnog at a Christmas party because “that’s what we do during the holidays.” Noshing without thinking about what you’re putting into your body and why makes you ignore your internal cues of hunger and satiety. Do you really even like pumpkin pie or eggnog? Or if you could have any treat, would you choose your favorite ice cream or hot cocoa instead? Just because it’s limited doesn’t mean you have to eat it.

Deborah Orlick Levy, R.D., Carrington Farms Health and Nutrition Consultant

My one rule: Eat low to high (when it comes to calories).

Start with a broth-based soup or salad, then move on to lean protein, and by the time you reach those triple-fudge brownies, a few bites will be all you need to feel satisfied.

Teresa LaMasters, M.D., Weight-Loss Specialist at UnityPoint Clinic, Des Moines

My one rule: Alternate your bubbly with sparkling water.

On average most adults consume almost 100 calories a day from alcoholic beverages. Since avoiding alcoholic beverages altogether may be hard during this time of merriment, alternating between an alcoholic beverage and a zero-calorie sparkler can help you avoid pouring on the pounds. Plus sparkling water keeps things festive, and, bonus, you’ll avoid entering the hangover zone, a not-so-happy holiday tradition.

Ashley Koff, R.D. for Earthbound Farm

My one rule: Balance acid with alkaline.

Holiday foods are full of “acid formers” like sugar, alcohol, and meat, so make sure you balance all those rich foods with plenty of “alkaline formers” like lemons and organic greens. While not all nutrition experts agree with the alkalinity theory, which says that eating too much of some types of foods can upset the pH balance in the body, it does make sense to balance out your heavier dishes with plenty of greens.

Hannah Disterdick, R.D., Wellness Specialist for One to One Personal Physician Network

My one rule: Bring the punch.

Offer to bring the party punch, then “upgrade” your traditional recipe with natural sweeteners like stevia or 100% fruit juice. To go even healthier, ditch the booze and replace it with club soda for a sparkling mocktail. Although they might miss the buzz, no one will miss the extra calories, and you’ll be comfortable knowing there’s at least one light drink so you can skip the eggnog.

Jessica Setnick, R.D., Senior Fellow at Remuda Ranch at the Meadows, International Federation of Eating Disorder Dietitians

My one rule: Make holiday treats year-round.

Prevent some of that “last-chance eating” by promising to make your mom’s pumpkin pie in February or your favorite green bean casserole in July. Knowing it will be available again means you won’t feel the urge to “go for broke” and overeat it now.

Adrienne Raimo, RD, and Founder & Director of One Bite Wellness

My one rule: Veg-out on veggies.

Try swapping light pureed cauliflower for carb-heavy mashed potatoes and add side dishes with more vegetables, like ratatouille, to bolster the nutritional value of the meal and keep you satiated so you don’t overeat. Bonus: All that extra fiber will help keep you regular, even if you do overindulge a bit on the cheese platter.

Valerie Orsoni, Nutrition expert, founder of LeBootCamp

My one rule: Don’t be fooled by the “health halo.”

File this under sad-but-true: You can gain weight even if you eat healthy. You can overdo it with the veggies and dip or creamy asparagus soup, just like you can with ice cream—except with the ice cream at least you know it’s an indulgence. So make sure you’re not eating something based solely on its health-food aura and keep an eye on your portion sizes.

Ana Goldseker, CNE, Director of Nutrition for Nava Health and Vitality Centers

My one rule: Go to social gatherings to gather (not to eat).

You go to family gatherings, work parties, and other social events to see your friends and loved ones—so see them! Use these times to socialize and be present rather than rummaging for holiday treats. A good idea is to “pre-eat” something with protein and vegetables to stabilize your blood sugar so you can keep your focus where it belongs: on present company.

JJ Virgin, author of three New York Times bestsellers, including JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet

My one rule: Bring out the skinny jeans.

Elastic waistbands, “relaxed fit” sweaters, and other loose clothing are practically an engraved invitation to overeat. Leave those roomy pants in the back of the closet. Instead, bring out the bandage dresses, skinny jeans, slim-fit suit, or nipped-in blazer—whatever ensemble makes you feel sleek and slim. Not only will you look hot, your outfit will offer subtle reinforcement to keep you from getting seconds (or thirds) on those peppermint bark cookies.

Alissa Rumsey, R.D., Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

My one rule: Just say no… to food pushers.

Whether it’s Grandma’s caramel cake or your best friend’s first attempt at a holiday roast, often you may feel forced to eat certain foods simply because people keep offering them to you. Put on a genuine smile, politely decline, and then offer a compliment. “Oh, Emily, these truffles look amazing, and you’re so thoughtful to make them for me! I’m too full to enjoy them right now, but could I take a couple home?” They’ll feel loved and you won’t feel pressured to show your affection through busting a gut.

Lindsay Martin, R.D., Nutritionist for Hilton Head Health

My one rule: Rock the bed-head.

Between holiday traveling, work schedules, and all that shopping, it can be easy to skimp on sleep in order to get your to-do list done, but getting a consistent six to nine hours of sleep every night helps regulate hormones, promotes recovery from workouts, and prevents daily fatigue—plus it keeps you from face-planting directly into your mom’s apple pie. There’s really no such thing as “catching up” on sleep, so the key is consistency . Bonus: The bed-head tousled look is totally in right now!

Megan Roosevelt, R.D., Founder of Healthy Grocery Girl

My one rule: Be a snack smuggler.

Traveling, shopping, and running errands during the holidays can lead to fast food, skipping meals, or surrendering to the siren call of Cinnabon. To keep your appetite in check, never leave home without a snack. Choose options made with real ingredients to truly energize and nourish your body. Check out our suggestions for on-the-go high-protein snacks.

Lisa Reed, C.S.C.S., Personal Trainer

My one rule: Burn the bird.

No, we’re not telling you to intentionally char your holiday dinner (although that’s one way to save calories). Rather, try a post-feast interval workout like Reed’s “burn the bird” sweat-fest: Have everyone start in a single file line down the sidewalk. Begin moving, with the person in the front of the line setting the pace—you can run, sprint, or walk. Then have the person in the back of the line move to the front of the line and set a new pace. Repeat until you have either reached 30 minutes or completed 2 miles. Consider this a new form of family bonding. Go ahead and high-five the line as you run past, treat your team to a full on sprint, or goof off and perform lunges down the line to the front.

Edwina Clark, Registered Dietitian

My one rule: Don’t “save up” calories.

Fasting before a big meal can backfire worse than posting a Justin Bieber fan video on YouTube. Low blood sugar from hunger increases cortisol levels, which leads to cravings for fatty, salty, and sugary foods. Instead of saving up for the big meal, nibble on healthy snacks like raw veggies, nuts, and fruit throughout the day to avoid a full-blown gorgefest where no crumb is left behind.

Andrea Szebeni, R.D., Nutritionist for the Lighthouse Recovery Institute

My one rule: Detox your taste buds.

Over time we adapt to eating “hyperpalatable” foods that are high fat, high salt, or high sugar (or all three). By eating these foods regularly, we erode the ability of our taste buds to appreciate subtler flavors, and we train them that a hit of fat/salt/sugar is normal. The good news is that you can reset taste buds by cutting out processed foods for just one week. Then when you do indulge in a treat, you’ll be able to appreciate all the flavors and be sated with just a few bites. You may even find that processed foods you used to love don’t even appeal anymore.

Lauren Harris-Pincus, R.D.N., of Nutrition Starring You

My one rule: Three bites and good night.

Stick to the three-bite rule for desserts: The first bite is the best, the last the grand finale, and every bite in between is the same. In three bites, you get the full dessert experience, so really focus on savoring those three and you’re less likely to overindulge.

Simone Gloger, R.D., Head Nutritionist for The Dukan Diet

My one rule: Trim the trimmings.

It turns out that most traditional holiday dishes are really not that unhealthy—think lean turkey, roasted vegetables, nuts—but adding in all the additional trimmings to the dishes are what make the calories soar into the stratosphere. Simply eliminate extras such as gravy, cream sauces, butter, and crust on pies, and you’ll axe loads of unnecessary calories and fat.

Anne Ricci, R.D., Founder of Anne’s Healthy Kitchen

My one rule: Eat mindfully.

It sounds silly, but lots of people don’t even realize when they’re eating. Taking the time to choose food you really want to eat and then actively focusing on enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each bite will naturally help you slow down and stop when you’re full.

Kristy Del Coro, R.D., Senior Culinary Nutritionist of SPE Certified

My one rule: Eat a good breakfast.

Your mom was right: Eating a healthy breakfast sets the tone for the entire day. If you start your day off with a doughnut or leftover pie, you can trigger a relentless sweet tooth the rest of the day. Don’t skip breakfast either, as that will leave you dragging through your morning and more likely to overeat later because you’re starving. Your best bet? Start with something that has lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and some healthy fat to give you energy and keep you satisfied until your next meal. Del Coro’s favorite: An omelet made with one egg and two to three egg whites; easy-to-cook veggies like spinach, mushrooms, or sautéed onions; fresh herbs if you have them; and a touch of grated Parmesan cheese. Add fresh fruit and whole-grain toast to really round out the meal.

Maggie Moon, R.D., Author of the Elimination Diet Workbook, owner Everyday Healthy Eating

My one rule: Eat seasonally.

Summer gets all the credit for tasty fruits and bountiful veggies, but winter has its superstars too. Feast on gorgeous seasonal fruits like pomegranates, mandarin oranges, and red grapefruit. Not only are they at peak season for optimal quality and flavor, they’re packed with nutrients. Pistachios, chestnuts, and walnuts also make special appearances around the holidays, so feel free to eat a handful or two before hitting the buffet. These nuts are packed with satiating fiber and healthy fats to help keep your appetite from going rogue.

Anika Christ, R.D., Senior Manager of Life Time Weight Loss at Life Time Fitness, Inc.

My one rule: Use the “fork trick.”

One of the biggest pitfalls of holiday eating is not being able to tell when you’re full and no longer truly enjoying the food you’re eating. To help you answer this question, try the “fork trick”: Once you take a bite of food, place your fork down on the plate, and let go of the fork. Chew your food, swallow, and then pick up your fork again. The key to this trick is actually letting go of the fork. This will remind you to slow down, enjoy your food, and converse with friends and family. By eating more slowly, you’ll be more in touch with your body’s satiety signals.

Michael Wood, C.S.C.S., Founder of Sports Performance Group

My one rule: Watch out for sneaky sugar.

Sure, you know that pumpkin pie with whipped cream or chocolate lava cake is a sugar-bomb, but the sweet stuff hides in innocuous places like sauces, seasonings, and processed foods. Suss out sneaky sugars and eliminate the ones you won’t miss, like the barbecue dipping sauce or the packaged crackers, to keep your blood sugar and weight stable. Wood says women should aim to stay under 100 calories per day from sugar while men should stick to 150 calories or less.

Ashley Pettit, Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Fitness Chef, and Personal Trainer

My one rule: Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water.

It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, leading to mindless snacking that never satiates. To make sure you’re staying hydrated, drink half your body weight in water. So if you weigh 140 pounds, aim for 70 ounces of water over the course of the day. For added detoxification, try adding ginger or lemon.