The holidays can be a really tough time to stay on track when you have fitness goals. It's a busy time and we are faced with lots of unhealthy food and drink options at parties and celebrations. However, you can still enjoy all your favorite foods (in moderation) and fit in your workouts with some key planning and mindfulness. Here are some tips to help you succeed!
1.Have a good attitude and ditch the guilt
A lot of people throw in the towel as soon as the holiday season rolls in, and seem to think that having some control over what they’re eating and drinking is impossible or too hard. Don’t sabotage your year long efforts. Approach this holiday with a positive attitude. Yes it is most likely that we will overindulge and consume more food than usual, but that doesn’t mean that a few days has to roll into a whole month. The holidays are also a time that people experience extreme guilt about what they have eaten. It is important to remind yourself that a few meals will not make you unhealthy or gain weight, just like a few meals won’t miraculously make you healthy and lose weight. In fact, studies have shown that food guilt actually makes food taste more desirable and makes people want to consume more! So ditch the guilt and think positive thoughts.
2. Don’t throw exercise out the window and make a scheduled plan
Try and start the day with some physical activity and put it on your schedule. Exercise does not only mean you have to hit the gym or class for a challenging workout, but also includes things like walking or riding a bike. Meet up with a friend for a walk instead of coffee or drinks. For a lot of people, starting the day with movement puts them in a positive mindset and increases the likelihood of eating well throughout the day. The holiday period is a common time where people fall off the exercise bandwagon, or delay the idea of getting fit during the festive period because they assume there’s no point starting until the New Year. However, given that one of the most common barriers to exercise is lack of time, take advantage of the holiday period and begin or maintain your usual exercise. It not only helps with maintaining weight but also helps to increase energy levels, reduce stress levels and get a better night sleep. Make a plan and execute it! Check out my Pinterest page for more workout ideas.
3. Eat your calories, don’t drink them
The holidays are a time where many will overindulge alcohol consumption and unfortunately drink their calories. Our bodies are not very good at registering the calories we consume from fluids so go easy on the alcohol. They contain empty calories with zero nutrition and can quickly add up. Then you get a buzz and all your willpower and your plan goes out the window, it is a no win situation. Start your day with a big glass of water and stay well hydrated.
4. Load up on salad and veggies
The holidays is often a time of supersized portions, large dinner plates and eating as much as you can possibly fit in. Balance your calorie intake by aiming to fill half of your plate up with salad and non-starchy vegetables and lean proteins which contain a small amount of calories but a lot of fluid, fibre, vitamins and minerals which help to keep us full. Aim to eat a variety of colors and textures as they each have their own nutrient profiles. Roast up a big tray of vegetables with olive oil and herbs, throw together a yummy salad and add raw vegetables to your platters so that you are fuller and eat less of the unhealthy options.
The holiday season doesn't mean your health goals go out the window. You CAN stay on track and keep your fitness and health goals in check with a little bit of key planning! Don't wait until after the new year, keep it going now!
Amy has spent her career helping others reach their health and fitness goals. "I hope sharing my knowledge and experience with others can help someone to live a healthier and more joyous life."