• Shelly Barnes: Maintain, don’t gain during the holiday season

    By Shelly Barnes -

    Join me and UT Extension as we embark on a healthy holiday journey, the Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge.

    If you are like me, you love the holiday season – time with family and friends, holiday shopping and eating. The holiday season provides an abundance of opportunities for overindulgence.

    Research suggests the average American gains about 1 pound during the winter holiday season. This is much less than the 5-8 pounds commonly believed.  Unfortunately, researchers at the National Institutes of Health report most people never lose that extra pound of weight, so it accumulates year after year. Later in life, the extra weight may be a major contributor to obesity and the diseases associated with it.

    The Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge lasts seven weeks. It begins the Sunday before Thanksgiving and runs through the Saturday after New Year’s Day. The challenge offers tips about how you can prevent weight gain and stay fit during the busy holiday season. Each week during the seven-week challenge, you will receive one email message that will help you to survive and thrive in spite of all the temptations to overeat and be inactive.  At the end of the seven weeks, you will be asked to complete a short survey. You don’t reveal your weight, just whether you maintained – gained or lost. This is a free program.

    The holiday season is a minefield of overeating opportunities. Add the hectic festivities to your calendar, and exercise takes a backseat. Don’t let this combination allow you to gain weight. This challenge is for anyone wanting encouragement and accountability throughout the season…but still enjoy the food and fellowship.

    Participants also get free opportunities at local fitness families during the challenge just for signing up. The free opportunities end Jan. 5.

    Sports Village has been a sponsor of this program before and sees the benefit participants gain from coupling the email challenge with free opportunities at local fitness facilities.

    “I believe in being as healthy as possible and as the owner of Sports Village, I like to reward that mindset.  These people are making a healthy choice to maintain their current weight during a very unhealthy time of year.  I think it’s important that we help them achieve their goals free of charge,” said Peggy Keel.

    Along with Sports Village in Lebanon, participating fitness facilities include Smith County Fitness Center in Carthage, ConqHER Fitness, Anytime Fitness and Jimmy Floyd Family Center in Lebanon and Planet Fitness, Re://MOVE Training and Zone Conditioning in Mt. Juliet and the 204 Fitness Center in Watertown.

    Receiving online accountability and encouragement through weekly emails is great. Adding the component of free fitness opportunities at our local participating fitness facilities is icing on the cake.

    Register for the Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge through Nov. 5 at tiny.utk.edu/MDG2018.

    The Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge is part of Wilson County’s Healthier Tennessee initiative.

    UT Extension provides a gateway to the University of Tennessee as the outreach unit of the Institute of Agriculture. With an office in every Tennessee county, UT Extension delivers educational programs and research-based information to citizens throughout the state and provides equal opportunities in all programming and employment. In cooperation with Tennessee State University, UT Extension works with farmers, families, youth and communities to improve lives by addressing problems and issues at the local, state and national levels.

    For more information on free fitness opportunities associated with the Maintain, Don’t Gain Healthy Holiday Challenge, contact Shelly Barnes, family and consumer sciences Extension agent for UT Extension in Wilson County. Barnes may be reached at [email protected] or 615-444-9584.

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