How to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain: Ditch High Heels & Walk More

Katy Santiago Bowman by Katy Santiago Bowman | December 11th, 2009 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Weight Loss

katysblogThe National Institutes of Health, in monitoring obesity and overall public health, has announced the impact of “holiday weight-gain” on the long-term issue of obesity. Are the 5 to 7 extra pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas really an issue? No, not really. Most people will take the initiative after the new year and get most of it off. But it’s the most of it that’s the problem. There seems to be about 1 extra pound that lingers each year, and that yearly pound is beginning to look like a possible cause of the slow, age-related (upward) movement of the scale.

So, what can you do?

Keep on walking

Not walking? Start today. In fact, beginning an exercise program during the holidays can have greater impact than waiting until this festive time is over! Weight gain isn’t caused by calorie intake alone. Stress can also play a huge role. Shopping lines, shrinking wallets, and … er, excessive family time can take even the most Zen Betty to the brink! Take a chill-out lap around the block to keep stress hormones to a minimum and keep your metabolism up.

Believe it or not, there is no significant calorie difference between walking and running. Keeping the intensity down will reduce sweating, which means you can leave the “I don’t have time to exercise because then I have to take a shower” excuse right next to your high heels.

Choose better footwear

High heels? Yep. Not only do they wreak havoc on your feet, hips and spine, these puppies can decrease your metabolism by reducing joint range of motion while walking. The number of calories burned throughout the day (your basal metabolic rate) is determined by the electrical activity of the muscles. The amount of flowing electricity depends on how flexible your muscles are. Heeled shoes cause a shorter stride (or is it the tight skirt … hmmm?), which means less action of the calves and hamstrings.

According to an economist at the University of Washington, YOU are going to go shopping 5.4 times between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, for a minimum of two hours each time! (Evidently, on one of your shopping excursions, you will become lost on the way there and only make it 0.4 of the way to the mall.) By my calculations, you are going to spend the equivalent to 10 hours or so — essentially the time it takes to walk a marathon — on your feet this holiday season! It’s the perfect time to match your athletic feat with athletic feet. Get it? (Author apologizes for terrible sense of humor. It’s genetic. We’ve been tested as a family, and apparently we shouldn’t be allowed to participate in public speaking forums or blog on the Internet.)

What I mean is, you have an easy solution to what could be a national problem. Pick better footwear (I recommend negative-heeled footwear to everyone at the Institute) and change what could be a potentially stressful time into a calorie-burning, life-saving experience.

(Author’s note: Research has yet to be found showing shopping as a direct cause of health and well-being, but 450,000 people waiting in line at 4 a.m. on Black Friday just seem to be happy people, don’t they?)

View original post at This excerpt republished with permission.

Related links

7 Ways to Manage Your Weight During the Holidays

9 Tricks to Avoiding Holiday Weight Gain

5 Ways to Survive & Thrive This Holiday


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