Tips to holiday proofing your fitness this year. The hardest time for me is the days between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. It is so hard to stick to a diet, a workout routine, or just watch what I eat. Everywhere we turn bam - sweets, treats, comfort foods! I want to share a few tips that I recently tried and helped me not only stay on track but I even lost a pound! Score!
If you don't know, I am currently in the middle of a weight loss journey. But that alone is a completely separate story. If anyone is interested in hearing that one, let me know so I can start a separate blog. 🙂
These tips aren't about weight loss, but about staying sane and on track with your fitness during the holidays. As a personal trainer and life coach, I want to make sure to let you know right now that if you indulge this season - it is ok. It is perfectly fine. It is also perfectly fine if you aren't on a fitness journey. This blog post is for those of us who are freaking out over the holiday season. For those who have been trying to make better choices but are afraid that things will go down when faced with all of the deliciously sinful foods we've been dodging for months. So if you are still with me...keep reading!
If you have also been watching your weight, you probably don't want to find the pounds you lost all year during the holidays. Make a commitment to yourself and make a "holiday health plan". You'll be able to be present and enjoy the holidays without freaking out or adding extra pounds.
Holiday Proofing Your Fitness Tip 1
There are many dishes you can 'flip' into healthy versions of it. Substituting just a few ingredients can go a long way. For example, instead of using full-fat mayo, you can use light mayo. When it's mixed in a dish, you really can't tell the difference.
Try to trade empty-calorie treats for 'holiday superfoods". These are foods that are packed with nutrients. Also, pick foods that are high in fiber to help keep you full longer.
Some "holiday superfoods" you can eat (in moderation)
-Pecans ( a handful only since pecans and nuts are all fats)
Holiday Proofing Your Fitness Tip 2
Stay active! I know firsthand how hard it is to find time to exercise on any given day. I also know it's especially hard to find the time during the crazy holiday season. You don't have to spend an hour in the gym (unless you need to run away from the in-laws for a few minutes) but there are many ways to stay active during your busy day.
- a. find a fun YouTube exercise you can do alone or with the kiddos
- b. take the family out for a walk or hike
- c. super speed clean an area in your house - you'll be sweating in no time!
- d. dance while you prep and cook
You get it. The point is to be creative and be on your feet. As long as you are moving, you're keeping yourself healthy, relieving some stress, and preparing yourself to eat guilt-free.
If you need some exercise examples, check out Rafael PT Fitness on YouTube for some quick exercises you can do. You can also enroll in some online training if you do want to stay focused on your weight loss during the holidays.
Holiday Proofing Your Fitness Tip 3
Take it easy. Whether you have family dinners, office parties, potlucks, etc, think of ONE guilt-free indulgence for each event. Do this instead of taking the whole even to indulge.
This can mean you would need to choose between a decadent dessert, sinful mail course, or a cocktail. Rotate your choice when you have several events to attend instead of indulging in all three at all events.
A great way to enjoy the treats without risking weight gain is by limiting how much we eat. You don't have to completely deprive yourself of holiday treats. I am telling you this year, the pecan pie at Thanksgiving was extra special and delicious because I have reduced my sugar intake throughout the Fall. So not only did I enjoy every single bite, but a smaller portion went a long way for me. I didn't feel like I was missing out at all.
Those calories add up super fast - so make sure you make conscious choices before and during each event.
Holiday Proofing Your Fitness Tip 4
Stay hydrated by drinking water. Sodas and alcohol flow during the holidays. But it is very important to keep yourself healthy by drinking water. Water helps you stay regular in the bathroom. It helps your organs detox and helps you stay alive frankly. So while it's perfectly ok to drink juice, sodas, and alcohol, do so in moderation and alternate those by drinking water in between. Not only is water fat-free and calorie-free but it also helps with weight loss (if that's your goal).
Holiday Proofing Your Fitness Tip 5
Stick to an eating schedule. My eyes get so big when I see all the delicious holiday food and treats. But I have to keep myself on track with my eating schedule. If it were up to me I would graze all day eating snacks and treats in between meals. Just because I'm walking around popping a few bites doesn't mean the calories don't count. (I wish!)
My tip is to make a list of the treats you want to have and the food you want to eat and when it comes time for your meal, grab a reasonably sized plate then put your 'wish foods' on that plate. If you are truly hungry and need to go for seconds, do so! But this time be more mindful and eat the 'holiday superfoods' you probably skipped on the first run 😉
If you aren't hungry but your eyes are still big... make your list for dinner and go to town when the time comes.
These tips aren't to turn you into someone you don't want to be - a miserable person watching other people eat. They are here so you can pick one or two and help you stay on track with your fitness.
The National Institute of Health conducted a study in which researchers discovered that after all is said and done, usually people put on just a couple of pounds during the holidays. However, if the person is already overweight, he or she will average about 5 extra pounds.
Even though we don't gain too much during the holidays, the bad news is that those extra pounds usually stay on for a while. So, if we let them, they will add up over the years. This isn't necessarily bad unless it starts affecting your overall health, like your heart, mental, emotional, and physical health. So it's best to be mindful and stay active.
The holidays are for taking time away from work and responsibilities so we can sit and catch up with the people we love and miss. If you don't follow a single tip and you eat the entire buffet, so what? Don't be too hard on yourself. Go out there, have fun, and trust yourself. Holiday proofing your fitness also includes your mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
If you do end up eating the entire buffet, just go out for a walk and use the extra energy to do fun stuff with your family. 🙂 Have a great and safe holiday season.
Remember to love yourself...always!
May I Suggest ...
Check out this book on self-care to learn more about ways to help yourself be the best version of yourself.
Happiness Through Self-Care: How To Love Yourself More. A Simple Plan to Soothe and Care For Your Body, Mind, and Spirit
With this e-book you'll learn:
- How to use loving-kindness meditation
- How to use CBT to forget worries and silence your inner critic
- How to use ‘positive self-talk’ to reaffirm your worth
- Why you should take time out to pamper and groom yourself
- How to overcome stress and anxiety
- How to be kinder to yourself
- How to practice gratitude to bring you into the present moment and help you to feel better
- & a lot more.