During the holiday, food is love, which means it's okay to eat latkes, stuffing, candy canes, and other goodies...which is probably why most Americans gain between 8 to 12 pounds over the holidays (ie. an increase of up to 2 dress sizes). However, before you despair of choosing between familial love and love of your non-fat pants, follow Mary Fugle's advice and plan ahead. There's only one way to eat your fruitcake without packing on the pounds advises Fugle, the owner of WiseWomenWorkouts: maintain your fitness level by doing MORE exercise over the holidays. By raising your endorphin levels, you help keep those jeans fitting right instead of tight.
Yes, yes, yes...we know you are really SO busy, SO stressed, SO tired... but give us 10 minutes a day and we'll help you fight the flab! As soon as you get up, do Mary's Five Fabulous Ab Flatteners (below). Then do push ups, whatever your level - against a wall, against the kitchen counter, on your knees, or like a marine - and go to failure, ie. 'til you drop.And while you may be talking turkey, Mary's pushing pumpkin. "Pumpkin is full of alpha and beta-carotine and lutein, high in fiber, and even helpful for your dog or cat if they have digestive problems," explains Fugle. "I make my Thanksgiving pie from my grandmother Lola's recipe, but without the crust, saving loads of calories." (Email her for the recipe, and be sure to fill up on her pumpkin soup before going to a party...your best-butt jeans thank you.)
72 oz. chicken or vegetable broth - fat-free and low sodium are best; if not from scratch, opt for organic
30 oz (a 30 oz can or two 15 oz cans) of pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
1 package frozen cauliflower
1 package frozen kale (unless you prefer fresh)
chopped fresh garlic and tumeric
DIRECTIONS: Cook everything, and then blend with a hand blender. Enjoy hot or cold. For extra protein, toss in tofu, black beans, lentils, turkey, salmon....you get the idea. Add a salad, wholegrain bread and you've got a perfect meal!
So if you can't keep your regular exercise and healthy eating habits this season, you can give yourself the gift of 10 minutes of exercise. It will be one less New Year's resolution to to make!
- Michelyn Camen, Editor at LargeMARY'S FIVE FABULOUS AB FLATTENERS:
1. Curl Up with Ring (or Pillow) Place the ring or pillow between your thighs; arms should be straight overhead. Exhale, then curl up and squeeze the ring/pillow. Repeat: 15 reps.
2. Oblique Curl Up Same starting position as #1, except arms are on a diagonal. Start with your right arm on a high diagonal, left arm on a low diagonal. 10 reps, then switch arms & repeat.
3. Overhead Arm Press Legs up at a 90 degree angle, with the ring or pillow between your ankles, and your arms straight overhead. Exhale, then curl up with your arms next to your hips and fingertips pointing across the room; squeeze the ring/pillow between your ankles. Keeping your legs up, curl back down. Repeat 10 times.
4. Leg Lower After finishing your Overhead Arm Presses, stay curled up with your fingertips pointing across the room. Lower your legs 5 inches, exhale, then raise your legs back up to a 90 degree angle. Repeat 8 times.
5. Knee Changes As you curl up, pull one knee to your chest, then alternate knees. Repeat for 10 reps. Add a twist and do another 10 reps.
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