With Thanksgiving just a couple of short weeks away, I think it’s safe to say, the holiday season is officially here!!!!
The holidays are a stressfully wonderful time filled with love, laughter, family, fun festivities, togetherness, and of course, food!
With all the parties, mixers, and get-togethers coming up, it can be hard to stay on track with your fitness and nutrition goals. But, not to worry! I’ve got 10 great tips to help stay on top of things and still enjoy yourself this (and every) holiday season!
Here are my top 10 ways to take control of the holidays and still have fun:
1. Don’t skip your workouts:
The holidays can be super busy. With all the parties, shopping, sight seeing, cooking/baking, wrapping…not to mention all of our regular daily responsibilities…things can get a bit hectic and overwhelming. So much so that it’s very easy for our goals to get put on the back burner.
Maintaining a solid workout schedule is one of the number one ways to stay on track during the holidays. If you find it hard to keep up your regular schedule during this time, that’s ok! Even a super short workout is better than nothing. Just try to move your body everyday. You’ll feel better and be much less susceptible to added holiday stress.
2. Focus on family and friends:
As I mentioned above, the holidays can be hectic and overwhelming, and when we’re stressed, what do we often turn to?…Food!…And, the holidays are full of it!
This season, don’t stress yourself out trying to make everything “perfect”. Focus on what’s really important, spending time with family and friends. When you’re at a party or get-together, really engaging with and enjoy the people around you. Talk, laugh, catch-up on old times.
Remember, the holidays are about togetherness. Make that time count!
3. Do something fun:
Instead of always going out for a meal or drinks, go do something fun that isn’t food related. Go skiing, sledding, or ice skating. Drive around and look at Christmas lights. Go to a holiday play. Do some fun window shopping.
Don’t be a Scrooge and stay hoarded up inside all season. Get out and enjoy yourself! It’s another great way to keep moving, plus you’ll be much happier for it!
4. Don’t go into meals starving:
When it is time to enjoy a heavy holiday meal…and you SHOULD enjoy them…make sure you aren’t starving when you sit down at the table.
Many think they have to under eat on the day leading up to a big meal, but this is the absolute worst thing you can do. Going into a meal overly hungry will lead to uncontrollable overeating, which can lead to indigestion, bloat, discomfort, unnecessary feelings of guilt, and in time, unwanted weight gain.
Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are wonderful, but there’s really nothing to be gained by stuffing yourself to the point of misery. On days you’re going to be enjoying rich feasts, go about your day as you normally would. Have your regular breakfast and lunch, so when you get to dinner, you’ll be less likely to overdo it and end up in a food coma.
5. Prepare/Bring your favorite healthy dish to share:
The next time you go to a dinner or party, prepare your favorite healthy recipe to share with your friends or family. Everyone loves to make their favorite dishes this time of year. Why not make something healthy, that you love? Who knows, that festive salad may just be a hit!
6. Try to stick to mealtimes instead of mindlessly grazing:
This time of year, it seems that there are snacks literally everywhere! Cookies or homemade candy in the break room, fudge at church, fee samples of spiced nuts, peanut brittle, almond bark, etc. lining the walkways at shopping malls. Everywhere you look, there’s a bite of something seasonally delicious.
While it is perfectly ok to taste and try things, try not to spend your days mindlessly grazing and snacking on all the confectioners lying around. Remember, all those little bites and tastes really do add up, making it so easy to overdo it without even realizing.
Enjoy your favorite seasonal foods, but be mindful of everything you put into your mouth.
7. Monitor alcohol consumption:
I love cocktails (and shots…and beer) as much as anyone, believe me, but when enjoying yourself at a holiday party, it is so easy to go overboard on the holiday spirits and have a few too many.
Drinking too much can really interfere with your nutrition. Alcohol has a lot of calories, and it may make you more prone to overeating. Basically, it makes your brain go into starvation mode, meaning it makes you feel hungry, and increases the likelihood that you’ll reach for less than nutritious snack options.
Don’t get me wrong, a fun night out won’t do too much damage but if you’re doing it often, it adds up.
8. Indulge without overdoing it:
The holidays, like life, are meant to be enjoyed, and it is 100% ok to enjoy your favorite seasonal foods/drinks! Just try to be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking. Don’t go overboard. Have a cookie or two, just don’t scarf down the entire platter.
Take the time to savor and enjoy what you’re eating. Allow your brain to recognize that you are satisfied before going in for seconds…or thirds. You don’t have to avoid your favorite foods. Enjoy them, but make them count!
9. Don’t beat yourself up over bloat and water weight:
#TruthBomb: Your weight fluctuates, daily!
It is dependent on things like how much salt you have had, eating/drinking in general, whether or not you’ve gone to the bathroom, how active you’ve been, water retention, etc.
The fact is, you cannot gain 5 pounds of fat in one night, period…It takes time…More than likely, any sudden holiday weight gain you experience is a direct result of excess water retention, or bloat, brought on by a little bit of overindulging…Hey! It happens!…The most important thing to note here is water weight is NOT a true reflection of your actual body composition at all.
If your weight starts to rise over a short period of time, relax Stressing about it and punishing yourself will only make you feel worse.
Instead, try to balance things out by picking up where you left off and moving forward with your healthy lifestyle. Setbacks happen, but a little overindulging doesn’t cancel out all of your previous hard work. Yes, it’s always best to try to exert a little self-control, but it’s never ok to tear yourself down when you don’t.
Accept that you’re human, and keep moving forward.
10. Have fun!:
Finally, ENJOY YOURSELF!
Don’t stress or obsess all season. Allow yourself to enjoy this magical time of year! Radiate joy and love. Laugh! Be thankful for your many blessings and cherish those around you.
The holidays are about peace, love, and joy. Hold on to that, and have a wonderful time.