We've all been there. You work hard all summer, focusing on your "beach bod" so that you can soak up some sun, get a nice tan, and fit into nice outfits for date nights. Then the seasons begin to change, leaves turn colors, and next thing you know the holidays are here. Now what? Suddenly you're invited to work parties, family gatherings, and treats are everywhere in sight. Not to mention, depending on where you live, your physical activity could take a back seat if you are used to getting outside and now the ground is covered in snow or ice. Wouldn't it be nice if you could keep the momentum going into and through the holiday season rather than take your foot off the gas pedal? You can! Your fitness or health goals don't have to suffer because you want to enjoy socializing during the holidays. Let's talk about how.
1. Keep Exercising
It Is really easy to come up with excuses to halt or disrupt your exercise routine around the holidays. "I'm off of work, so I won't drive past the gym... The kids are off of school... It's cold or snowing outside... I have family in town..." Now I get it, these are legitimate things. The last thing I want to do when I have family in town that I haven't seen in a long time is spend 2 hours in the gym without being able to spend more time with them. But, do these things really have to totally derail your routine? No, but you may have to modify. Maybe you exercise at home rather than bundling up to travel to the gym. Maybe you spend time exploring parts of town with your family, getting a lot of walking in (yes walking counts). Maybe you wake up 45 minutes earlier to use the treadmill because you have some traveling plans later in the day. In the end it's all about prioritizing and modifying to what fits your schedule and keeps you on track toward your goals; and keep your routine.
Check out quick strength exercises here!
2. Eat Slowly - Stop when 80% full
I can't emphasize this enough. What's really easy to do, is see the huge spread of food and desserts at the holiday party and just start having some of everything. Sometimes, we eat until we just can't eat any more and then lay on the couch in a food coma (yep, I've been there...). But you don't have to. This is something I work on with clients during all time's of the year, not just around the holidays. Practicing the habit of eating slowly, stopping prior to feeling stuffed, gives you the opportunity to check in with your body's hunger cues. Often times when we eat slowly, we realize that we feel "full" even before we have finished all the food we put on our plate. So then what? Stop! (If you're on a weight loss journey that is). Save the rest for later or share with someone else. No need to keep eating just for the sake of it.
3. Stay Hydrated
Continue to aim for 1/2 of your body weight in ounces of water each day. So if you weigh 140 pounds, We encourage you to drink 70 ounces of water each day. Despite helping your body function properly down to a cellular level, drinking plenty of water can also help curb your appetite by keeping your stomach full. We sometimes mistake bodily cues for thirst as hunger cues, prompting us to walk back into the kitchen to grab that cookie. If your holiday parties are anything like mine, there won't just be plenty of food, but there will be drinks available too. Spacing each drink with a glass of water in between is a great way to keep that morning hangover at bay, and also cut back on the amount of alcohol you drink throughout the night; saving you some valuable calories in the long run.
Read "Environment is Strong than Willpower."
4. Eat Vegetables
Though they aren't always the most popular at parties, they're usually there, and everyone is skipping over them. We recommend filling your plate with 1/2 vegetables when you can, or while snacking look for the veggie tray or dish as an option. Not only are vegetables filling, they also are usually one of the most nutritious options. Whenever you can prioritize whole, minimally processed foods. Vegetables usually fit this description and you will feel much better if you are eating these healthier options. Yes the highly processed things take good, but they are usually pretty empty calories. Some of our favorites to snack on are carrots, broccoli or cauliflower. We also really like to make dishes with brussel sprouts or beets involved.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
Zzz... This doesn't change during the holidays, but often our routines get thrown off with all the hustle and bustle. Quality sleep might be the best thing that you can do for your body, hands down. We benefit both physically and mentally from good sleep as this is the time our mind can shut down and the body can rest and recover. Ultimately, we want you to remain energized, avoid illness, and feel good during the holiday season, and remembering to get enough sleep can help you do that. Don't forget that the food and drink you consume can affect your sleep as well. Avoiding caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime can help, as well as herbal teas (that don't have caffeine). Highly sugary foods, or just too large of meals too close to bedtime can diminish your sleep quality, as your body will be busy trying to digest for a few hours.
We hope you find these five, realistic tips helpful. We sincerely hope you have an enjoyable and fun-filled holiday season with your loved ones!
- Andrew & Erin