Ugh why is everything this time of year so delicious! Pies, cookies, breads, it’s cold but that doesn’t mean I want a permanent winter coat. It’s easy to slide down the slippery slope of “well if I’m going eat all day on Thanksgiving, I might as well just eat all day the next day and if I’m going to eat bad things then what’s the point of working out, really…” Avoid this thinking! We’ve all done it:
Oh, I’ll start after Halloween because there’s all the candy
There’s no way I’m going to lose weight around Thanksgiving so I’ll start after, plus the more weight you have to lose, the easier it will be to come off, I’m practically helping myself with turkey.
Real women have curves…..and feel sick from too much pie….and can’t move because their so full…wait…erm
THIS is why they made yoga pants
Pretty sure I burn all the calories I need during my Thanksgiving nap
Santa is fat…and he’s happy
Summer is like FOREVER away…
We all have excuses. But the ultimate goal over the holidays should be less about looking hot in that red dress (although come on, that IS an incentive) and more about staying healthy. The holidays are about love and the last thing you want to do is corrode your arteries with chocolate lava cakes….mmm chocolate lava.
Here are 11 ways I’m going to stay healthy over the holidays:
- Stay active and keep your fitness routines going. OR START ONE! It’s SO easy when we do indulge in good foods to put off the exercise. It’s that all or nothing mentality that can really tear apart your goals. Exercise in the morning before it’s not an option later when you want to go a holiday party. When you start your day off with exercise you’re boosting endorphins and are more likely to feel good about your body and therefore make smart and healthy choices later.
- Allow yourself to indulge in good foods but make smart choices when you can. If you think you can just glide through the holidays without touching a morsel of something sweet, you’re kidding yourself and everyone around you and may up devouring an entire cake later when you burn out. LET yourself have some good food before the year is over. The key is portions. So many people think that in order to maintain or lose weight you need to give up everything you love but that’s not true. Are you dying for a piece of your grandma’s famous pie? Then have some. Ask for a smaller slice or even just take a bite. Practice savoring rich food instead of inhaling it and think about how it makes your body feel. When you’re out shopping with friends or meeting for happy hours around the holidays, make smart choices. Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you should use it as an excuse to eat bad things for two months. Grab a wrap or a salad at the food court in the mall when you’re shopping with friends instead of a slice of pizza. That way you can have that cookie later.
- Encourage others to be active with you. Promise yourself you’ll go on a walk before or after you indulge in a giant meal so that you make smarter choices and don’t feel so sluggish afterwards. Traveling? You may not be able to get your regular workout in, that’s ok and doesn’t mean you lose for the day. Find other options. Ask if others want to join you for a walk. Take a 5 minute break and do jumping jacks, push ups, planks, and whatever else you can squeeze in. It may not burn as many calories as you’d like but it will set you up mentally for the rest of the day.
- Find healthy alternatives to your favorite holiday recipes. Do you always make chocolate chip cookies for the family? Use one stick of butter in the recipe instead of two. Sub in applesauce for sugar. There are tons of ways to use other (healthier) ingredients to make recipes low-calorie and ditch some of the fat.
- Keep short-term goals at the front of your mind. Around this time of year everyone is making new years resolutions that seem so distant and attainable because they aren’t now. The best way to keep yourself on track is to set daily and weekly goals for yourself. These could even be limiting yourself to two drinks at the Xmas party or making sure to get your workout in this weekend. Hold yourself accountable and get friends to bug you about it, too 🙂
- Think about how you want to FEEL more than anything else. We all worry about the holiday bulge but think back on those days where you’ve seriously over-stuffed yourself. You feel lethargic, moody, depleted, and unenergized. Then think about how you feel the next morning when you didn’t overeat and let yourself have fun but didn’t go so overboard that working out the next day is like sweating gravy.
- Share the love. Everyone seems to have an uncle or an aunt that loves to make holiday cookies. Don’t think you can’t share these or bring them into work. I know if I leave sweets in my kitchen I will eat them, just me. Don’t set yourself up by putting ammo in your own home that will shoot you after you’ve had a rough day and just want to eat sugar. Keep healthy snacks around like almonds and fruits high in fiber.
- Eat your vegetables first. Mom was right about this one. When you go out or are hosting a holiday get-together, eat the good foods first. Have a salad, enjoy the high protein snacks, THEN move to the cake. You may just find that by the time your belly is full with the healthy stuff, you’ll be less inclined to try and secretly eat 3 pieces of pecan pie.
- Stay hydrated! It’s easy to forget to drink enough water when there’s all the holiday beers and cocktails. More often than not we are actually full when we start to get super thirsty – not to mention dehydrated! The more water you drink, the more conscious you’ll be about your appetite.
- Find fun and active things to do! Hit up the ice rink, go inner-tubing, build a snowman and have a snowball fight. Get some warmer workout gear so your excuse has nothing to do with the dropping temperatures. GET OUTSIDE! It’s getting darker and the days are growing shorter. Lack of sun and Vitamin D can make many people feel sluggish and depressed, so if a sunny afternoon presents itself, get OUT there!
- Don’t obsess and beat yourself up! You’re going to have days where you have more food and drinks than you planned. That’s OK! Get back at it with the next meal and the next workout. Try to avoid going days on end eating bad things – this leads to bad habits and routines. You may have to work a bit harder over the holidays to keep up the good habits you’ve made but you can do it!