The holiday season is officially upon us! It's that time of year where we get to spend quality time with friends and family, exchanging gifts and making memories. It is such a wonderful and joyful time of year, but can also be very stressful and difficult to keep up with a healthy, active lifestyle. With multiple holiday parties, cookies and candy every where we turn, a change in routine and the stress of the holidays, it's not too uncommon for many people to gain a few holiday pounds. We want to be able to enjoy the festivities and time with our loved ones, but still be able to fit into our clothes after the New Year! So here are a few helpful tips to keep you on track this holiday season!
1. Plan Ahead
Meal planning/prepping is one of the best ways to stay on top of your nutrition, not just during the holidays but throughout the entire year. Planning ahead and even preparing what you are going to eat each week will ensure you always have fresh, healthy food available, keeping you from making poor decision like going to a drive through or snacking on bad foods. This time of year gets very hectic. Our schedules change because of the holidays and traveling or visitors can make this a bit of a challenge, but all the more important to plan. Take a look at your social calendar for upcoming parties and events and take those days into consideration when it comes to meal planning. Be sure to plan out and prepare as much of your meals and snacks as possible and that they consist of a variety of whole, natural, healthy foods. If you're putting great fuel into your body the majority of the time, you will find yourself continuing to make healthy food choices, for the most part, even at those temptation-filled holiday parties!
2. Indulge Without Over-Indulging
As stated above, there is going to be temptation everywhere and it would be unrealistic to assume you will not at least try a bite here and there of those delicious treats that come around only once a year. Depriving yourself isn't the answer because it could actually set you up for failure. There's only so many times you can say no to something you enjoy so much before it becomes all you can think about, and before you know it you've gorged on a whole pound of fudge! Also, starving yourself so you can pig out later actually negatively effects your metabolism. The best thing to do is allow yourself these holiday inspired dishes and desserts every so often over the next few weeks. Be sure to plan these indulgences accordingly with your meals for the day. So for example, if you happen to stuff yourself silly at a work luncheon, enjoy a lighter, healthier afternoon snack and dinner to help even it out. Pay attention to serving sizes and make sure to practice portion control, and of course do your best to plan ahead, and this should allow you to enjoy your holiday favorites without going off the deep end.
3. Avoid Too Much Alcohol
Holiday cocktails, delicious wines and seasonal inspired beers are great to enjoy this time of year...in moderation. These festive beverages can pack quite a caloric punch per drink, which really adds up after a night of holiday partying. Another concern with abundant alcohol consumption is lowered inhibitions when it comes to food choices. Free flowing beer, wine and cocktails makes everything look and taste so good. Your best defense when it comes to avoiding too much alcohol is be sure to drink equal (if not double) amounts of water for every ounce of alcohol you consume. This will help keep you hydrated, slow down your alcohol intake and also help ward off those pesky hangovers!
4. Join a Gym NOW
There is no need to wait until after the holidays to begin your fitness regimen. Many facilities, like mine CWSC Performance, are running a variety of specials and deals to get people started right now! Getting a jump start at the gym will help in several ways. You will be able to work off some of that holiday stress, you will begin to appreciate your hard work at the gym and will be more conscience of your holiday eating, and last but not least, you will get a jump start on your training before the influx New Year's resolution gym goes. If you're going to be traveling a lot this holiday season and joining a gym is out of the question, be sure to carve out time each day for exercise. Even if it's just a short, brisk walk or squats and planks in the living room, something is better than nothing. Once you're back home and settled, get with a fitness professional to get going on your fitness routine going! You still have plenty of time to start looking and feeling better BEFORE 2015!
5. Set Some Goals
The best way to keep yourself on track and accountable during the holidays, and all throughout the year, is to set realistic goals. Even though life may be turned upside down for the next several weeks, you can still set some expectations for yourself and do your absolute best to hold yourself to them. You don't have to strive for perfection or even any significant changes this December, but setting some healthy, attainable goals for yourself will put you on the right path. Some examples of goals for this time of year can include, maintain NOT gain weight, walk/run no less than 20 minutes per day, limit yourself to 1-2 drinks per holiday gathering, etc. These small goals aren't too much to ask, but can make a big difference in your health, energy levels and waistline this holiday season. This is also a great time to begin planning your goals for 2015 and how you intend to accomplish them. For more information on goal setting, visit my past blog on S.M.A.R.T. Goals.
6. Have Fun!
You want to do your best to stay healthy and committed to your goals this holiday season, but you also want to be able to enjoy yourself. There are a million and one things to do, people to see, parties to go to and present to buy, so the holidays can be stressful enough. Constantly worrying about your food, weight and finding time for exercise can make it even more exhausting. So be sure to let your hair down and live a little. All the tips above are great suggestions to help enjoy your holidays in moderation, so don't get too caught up on being tremendously strict on yourself. Do the best you can with your fitness and nutrition, but most importantly, enjoy this special time with your friends and family!
For more information on Coach Christina and her company's training and nutritional services, visit CWSC Performance on Faceboook or at www.CWSCPerformance.com.
Have a wonderful and healthy holiday season everyone!