Photo Credit: Courtesy Mallory Gaston
The holiday season can’t come to a close quickly enough for some of us who have found it hard to resist the festive cocktails, delicious desserts and mounds of food at the non-stop parties. Is it any wonder that the average American gains six pounds during the holiday season? We asked Mallory Gaston, co-founder and CEO of Body Mechanix Fitness Cooperative, to give us six tips for how to lose holiday pounds. His company, which is owned and operated by health and fitness professionals, operates in six locations throughout San Francisco, Oakland and Castro Valley and celebrates its 10th anniversary next month. We like Gaston, who trains his clients in the Embarcadero and SoMa locations, because he’s one of us. “I’m not walking around eating wheat germ all of the time,” he says. “I like beer but I won’t have dessert (if I’m having beer).” Well, we might.
If you’ve put on a few pounds during the holidays, here are Gaston’s recommendations for how to get rid of them:
1. Schedule workouts and rest. Reorganize your world back into its normal flow.
2. Increase anaerobic (strength training with weights) and aerobic (cardio) activity
“If you haven’t been working on at all, general body conditioning overall is always a great start,” he says. “People who have been inactive, that’s usually what it takes is just to start moving. They can lift weights or do cardiovascular activity but some variation of both is best.”
3. Decrease alcohol consumption and increase water intake. Alcohol is a nutrient-empty, caloric-dense (seven calories per gram) addition to any diet. Water, on the other hand, takes part in all the processes in the body. No Water = No Processes
“Without water, all of the processes slow down, including fat metabolism,” Gaston says. “During the holidays people consume a lot of alcohol, whether they know it or not. In metropolitan areas like San Francisco, the average person has two glasses of wine a night—one while they’re making dinner and another with dinner. Add the holidays on top of that. One of the easiest things to do is drop alcohol for a little bit and increase the water. You’ll get rid of all of those dead calories and it will help you get a sleeping pattern down.”
4. Increase the amount of leafy green vegetables and dump packaged and processed foods. Greens represent, essentially, a non-caloric, nutrient-dense source of otherwise hard to obtain minerals, like magnesium, calcium, potassium and manganese. They fill you up as well. Recommended greens are:
- Collard Greens
- Romaine Lettuce
- Swiss Chard
5. Commitment to a trainer/group or friend for workouts and accountability.
6. Schedule a reward for yourself once a week to keep you from falling of the wagon. This can help ease you into these behavior modification.