The busy-ness of the holiday season sure can be a challenge to stick to your healthy lifestyle and goals. In celebration of the upcoming 25 days of Christmas, I thought it would be fun to give you 25 tips for staying on top of your nutrition and fitness goals during this holiday season. Let’s get started:
Plan – My planning day is typically Sunday, but with the extra parties and school functions, I must make sure to consider the extra events. Plan as many meals as you can and plan your exercise into a calendar, just like you would any other appointment. Planning will be second nature as you make it a part of your routine.
Stay Active – Yes, the holidays are a busy time, but busy does not necessarily mean active. Make sure not to skip your regular workouts. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym to get toned up—try a 20-minute workout at home with a circuit of compound exercises with dumbbells or just your bodyweight. Try Lunges, Squats, Pushups, Burpees, Tricep Dips and Planks for a full-body sweat fest!
Eat intuitively – Be attuned to your body’s natural hunger signals rather than eating because you are visiting multiple relatives in one day and feel obliged to eat multiple times.
Prepare to share – If you know you feel better by eliminating dairy for example, bring a dish that is dairy-free. Then you know there will be at least one dish that you will be able to eat and participate in the festivities.
Shhh…Don’t tell – Don’t feel the need to explain to guests or family members, why you choose not to eat dessert or the sweet potato casserole with butter, sugar and marshmallows. Especially, if you are vulnerable on your journey. Explaining your food choices may just be a conversation you can choose to avoid this year. Your food choices are exactly that – YOUR choices.
Cherish the time – Focus on the people and loved ones you are gathering with and not on the food. Focus on conversations and reconnecting with loved ones rather than having the food be front and center of the celebration.
Eat before the party – As crazy as this sounds, eating a snack or light meal before the actual event helps to overindulge. A handful of almonds, a protein shake or a cup of Greek yogurt is the perfect snack to keep you from overeating at the party.
Eat in moderation – The holidays are a celebration and you should enjoy yourself. Reserve about 10% of your calories for a sweet treat if that is what you so desire. This way you won’t overindulge, but you won’t beat yourself up for enjoying yourself.
Avoid the food table – Easier said than done, but when you are chatting with co-workers or family at a gathering, move away from the food table. Snacking is much easier to avoid if the food is not within arm’s reach.
H20 – Drink plenty of water. In fact, the fuller you are from water, the less likely you will overeat at the festivities. It also gives you something to put into your mouth without feeling like you are not a part of the party.
Have a plant-based plate – Aim for a plate that is 50% veggies/fruit/legumes. The rest should be mostly protein and a little bit of fat. Allow for a small dessert as I mentioned above, and try to keep the protein to the size of the palm of your hand.
Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia – Yes chia seeds are wonderful for that pre-party. Add a tablespoon of chia seeds to a glass of water. Chia seeds will make you feel fuller longer. Plus, they are rich in fiber, omega-3 fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.
Loosen up – When we are anxious and stressed, the shoulders and neck often have tightness. Relax these areas by tightening each muscle group one at a time and then releasing them. Tuck the chin to the chest. Hold it while counting to 10. Gradually, bring the head back up. Tilt the head toward the right shoulder. Hold it while counting to 10 and then lift slowly. Repeat on the left side. (Adapted from Huffington Post)
Push to the finish line – Getting off track this time of year is unfortunately, so easy to do. Remember your resolutions or goals. If you wrote them down, keep them front and center as a reminder of all your accomplishments this year. Don’t let 25 days sabotage your goals you have reached throughout the year.
HIIT – With time constraints this time of year, an efficient cardio workout may be the trick to get you through this time of year. A super easy one is setting your timer on your phone to 1 minute and run up and down your stairs. Take a 1-minute rest and repeat for up to 20 minutes or whatever time you can squeeze in.
Rest Up – Nothing zaps your energy like skimping on your sleep. According to so many studies, sleep deprivation can cause so many issues such as compromising your immunity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Do your best to get 7-9 hours of ZZZ’s.
Skip the Spiked Eggnog – Alcohol will be the fastest and most sure-fire way to sabotage your goals this season, especially the cocktails mixed with loads of sugar like eggnog. So, either avoid it or drink in moderation, sticking to the clear liquors with sparkling water or a glass of wine.
Plan for 2017 now – Start thinking of what your health goals are going to be in 2017. If you are clear on your goals NOW, it will be an easier to avoid some of those foods and get a jumpstart on that exercise program. There is only now, and now is the time to take your first step.
Grab a friend – Connecting with friends and family is great this time of year. What better way to connect than by going for a walk or challenging each other to a HIIT sprint session? If you have family visiting and staying with you, get them a pass to your gym – many times there is no fee involved or the cost is minimal.
Dangle a carrot – Set a new goal or renew a goal. Try changing just one thing, like giving up soda for water or tea. Set it for Jan 1 and have a reward in place if you reach your goal. Have a friend, relative, or coach, like myself, hold you accountable.
Game on – If you are the hostess, plan a game that incorporates movement – get the adults involved too, not just the kids. This will be fun for all and it will keep everyone out of the kitchen.
Take time for you – Make sure as you are taking care of everyone, you take time for you. Treat yourself to a massage or an Epsom salt bath – and don’t forget the candles.
The nose knows – Diffuse essential oils, especially with the winter months close ahead. We are heading into the cold and flu season. Oils such as Cardamom, Geranium, Lemon, Peppermint, and Lavender help boost your immune system.
Watch your portion sizes – While at an event or a family party, do your best to eyeball the portions. Use a smaller plate if possible to help. Resist going back for seconds. If you feel hungry, drink a glass of water and wait 20 minutes before going back for more.
Keep a strong Mindset – If you are serious about controlling yourself during the holidays, it starts with the mind. A strong mind will resist temptations. Keep your goals clear and visible. Positive self-talk everyday – it helps to get in “I am…” mode (i.e. I am getting stronger). It is possible to maintain your goals or absolutely CRUSH them!
Your biggest cheerleader,