The holidays are a magical time of year full of twinkling lights and beautiful decorations, family, gifts, parties, and pure joy. They also happen to be one of the busiest and most stressful times of year, not to mention the most unhealthy. Between the hustle and bustle of Christmas to-dos and holiday parties, with cookies and candy everywhere, most of us get more than a little off-track with our workouts and nutrition. For some, Halloween is the start of a downward spiral that continues to Thanksgiving and straight on through Christmas. Before you know it, you’re 7-10 pounds heavier and feel downright miserable. That’s no way to spend the holidays, so I’m here to give you some tips for staying on track this year despite the chaotic schedules and holiday temptations!
First, it’s important to understand that the holidays are not the time of year to be focusing on weight-loss and depriving yourself. In my opinion, that’s just setting yourself up for failure. Rather, I encourage my clients to focus on maintaining versus gaining, and on finding balance. We don’t shoot for 6-7 workouts per week in December, for example, but more like 4-5. We don’t allow only one cheat meal per week, because the holidays come around just once a year and are meant to be enjoyed. However, that does not mean that we allow ourselves to eat everything we want. We pick and choose the things that we love the most, and exercise self control when it comes to everything else. Having a balanced mindset, versus a super rigid one, will allow you to enjoy the holidays without resenting yourself or feeling guilty and that’s super important to your well-being!
Take a Healthy Dish
If you’re heading to a holiday party, take something healthy with you to share! That way you know there’s something you can indulge in guilt-free and at the same time you’re providing something healthier for everyone else too! From fruit and veggie platters to salads to healthier versions of holiday favorites (like clean eating carrot cake or pumpkin brownies), there are tons of options.
Eat Well First
If you know you’ll be out shopping for most of the day, heading out to dinner or attending a holiday event/party, make sure you eat well before that. Do your best to nail your nutrition as long as you can before and after special occassions. Also, when you attend a holiday party, make sure you eat the best things for you first. Starting with a salad or soup (if it’s broth-based) will help you eat less of the things that aren’t as good for you.
Downsize Your Sweets
Going for a slice of pie? Cut it in half. Going for a cookie? Stick to just one, or even just have half. No one says you have to finish ALL of anything, especially if you want to sample a few things. Got a 2-pound tin of toffee as a gift? Put some in the freezer, store four or five pieces for yourself in the cabinet, and give the rest of away.
Use a Plate
Don’t nibble while standing up at a party or decorating the tree. Sit down at a table with your plate so you can focus on your food and keep track of what you’re eating. I promise that plating your food will help you eat far less overall.
Steer Clear of Temptation
Stand more than an arm’s length away from sweets or munchies, like a bowl of nuts or chips, while you chat so you’re not tempted to raise your hand to your mouth every few seconds. Parking yourself next to the appetizer or dessert table is just asking for trouble.
Drink More Water
It’s important to stay better hydrated in the cold season, but especially around the holidays. You will eat far less if you are getting adequate water intake. Try to keep alcoholic beverages to a minimum, and always drink a glass of water before and after each one. This will fill your belly and minimize caloric intake from other beverage choices.
Just like I encourage my clients to get their workouts in early on weekends before the day gets away from them, during the holidays it’s equally as important to workout early and give yourself a boost of energy you need during this busy time of year. Between Christmas shopping, errands, parties, kids activities, decorating and work events, December days fly by and it’s easy for a workout to not make the cut. That’s why I recommend setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier to get it in first thing in the day. If you struggle to workout early like me, try my favorite pre-workout supplement and you’ll be rearing and ready to go in 15 minutes not just for your workout but for the whole day!
Shakeology rounds out nutrition and helps us nail at least one meal a day. This is important for me year-round as a busy mom, because there’s always at least one meal per day that I don’t have the time to prepare and eat. Having a superfood shake that is ready to go in 60 seconds is a lifesaver, especially during the hectic holiday season. Even more important this time of year is the way it helps curb cravings, making it easier for me to exercise self-control. For more information on Shakeology, click here. To order a sampler, click here!
I hope these tips help you stay on track this holiday season while still enjoying yourself. Got any other great ideas? Feel free to leave them in the comments below! Happy Holidays!