The holidays have become associated with overeating and overindulgence. They have become a time to sit around with family and friends stuffing yourself full of goodies that you spend most of the rest of the year avoiding, while avoiding the activities you spend most of the rest of the year pursuing. It should not come as much of a surprise then that continuing your workout routine during the holiday season will help you save yourself from overindulging on all of the goodies around you. There are in fact a few different ways in which daily exercise saves you from overindulging during the holidays.
Health Breeds Health
The first way in which daily exercise saves you from overindulging during the holidays is by promoting a healthy mindset early on in the day. Those who exercise at any point in their day are less likely to make unhealthy decisions about their nutrition throughout the day, because they do not want to ruin their progress. It has been shown that those who exercise in the mornings though tend to make healthier decisions throughout the day than those who exercise later in the day. So if you’re going to rely on your healthy lifestyle keeping you away from unhealthy meal or snack options throughout the holiday season it’s a good idea to start your day with a workout.
Make sure that you are carving out a specific part of your day for your workouts and making them a priority. Once you are set in a routine it will be easier to stick to it and maintain a full and rounded healthy lifestyle. That means that you should stop experiencing frequent cravings for unhealthy foods, and as you become more accustomed to your healthy lifestyle you may even begin to crave healthy meals and snacks throughout the day. Health is a snowball effect. The healthier you life and eat the healthier you will want to continue living and eating, so start today before the holiday madness begins.
Muscle Metabolism Burns Fat
Regardless of the types of exercises you are accomplishing each day, as long as you are maintaining a healthy workout balance between strength training, cardio training and low intensity recovery days you should be building lean muscle mass overtime. That’s great news, especially this time of year because lean muscle mass increases your metabolism, and helps your body to burn more calories without increasing the intensity or frequency of your workouts. Daily exercise saves you the fat accumulation that can occur from overindulging during the holidays by making sure that your body is prepared to work it off efficiently.
This is another healthy cycle that works in your benefit. At the beginning it may seem difficult to build lean muscle mass. Your muscles may feel too sore to go on, and even your recovery days may seem like a struggle for a while. But once you have a solid base to work from your muscles will actually work for you. It will be easier to strengthen your muscles and you will notice that burning off fat will become easier. Keep in mind that lean muscle mass will take up less space than body fat but it is denser, so if you are not noticing a difference on the scale take a look in the mirror. Your progress will be reflected.
Taking progress pictures throughout the month, so that you can go back and see your physical changes and progressions, is a great way to keep your motivation high.
Walking Diminishes Dessert Cravings
Don’t think of your time in the gym as your only opportunity to cash in on some daily exercise. Plenty of opportunities will present themselves throughout the day to get you up and moving and it’s up to you to take advantage of them to save yourself from overindulging during the holidays.
For example if you are at a party with a buffet table, rather than posting yourself up near the table all night and putting yourself in a position where you have to fight off your cravings all night, stay mobile. Walk around the party and interact with people as you meet them. Do not carry a plate with you, as it would encourage just as much mindless snacking as standing at the buffet all night would. When you feel hungry, head for the food and pick out healthier snack options like fruit and vegetables (without dip). Leave the desserts for those less dedicated than yourself.
During sit down dinners you will not be able to simply avoid the table full of food so this is where portion control comes into play. Make sure that you are serving your own plate so that you are able to plate only as much food as you will actually eat. Keep in mind that the foods served at holiday functions tend to have higher calorie counts and contain more fat and sugar than your daily meal prep. Unless the person sitting next to you is also trying to avoid holiday overindulgence their plate will likely seem more full to you, and that’s okay.
After dinner, and before dessert is served, you may want to politely excuse yourself and take a walk around the block. Not only will you be avoiding the temptation of dessert but you will also be jump starting your digestive system before the parlor games begin.
Adequate Sleep Increases Energy
Participating in daily exercise is a great way to make sure that when night falls you are getting uninterrupted and restorative sleep. This is important because the more quality sleep you are able to attain, the more energy you will experience in your everyday life. Since food is the only other source of energy your body knows, you should experience less frequent cravings if you are sleeping well on a regular basis.
During the holidays you may experience more stress in your daily life than throughout the rest of the year, which may cause you to lose sleep. Daily exercise can reduce stress by giving you a positive outlet in which to work through it, making sleeping that much easier at night. While working out does tend to give you energy (which is why morning workouts are so popular) they can also exhaust your muscles making falling asleep and staying asleep that much easier on your body. Getting regular restorative sleep is beneficial to your overall health, and as you know the healthier you are in your daily life the easier it will be to avoid overindulging during the holidays and any other time of year.